The progress of technology is getting ever faster. According to Christian Grante, it is important to follow the latest developments and always stay one step ahead.
“It’s about investing in our future,” he says, citing the example of the United States in the 1950s, where the new technology of hydraulic systems emerged. Only four out of the 45 manufacturers of excavators in the US survived.
“The others continued to install cables as they always had. They didn’t see the importance of the new technology and didn’t understand their customers’ new requirements. When they did realise their mistake, it was too late. This is an example of a technological shift that changed an entire industry. Today’s technological shifts move considerably faster, so we must be aware of the possibilities, but also of the threats,” he says.
Technology of the future
Christian Grante is Director Emerging Technology at Volvo CE, and he and his team of 20 people are working to explore and evaluate the technology of the future.
“We aim to understand and analyse the world we live in. We aim to be Volvo CE’s eyes, ears and fingertips exploring the outside world. We aim to discover new technology and implement what is relevant, both for the benefit of the company and to meet our customers’ needs. That’s how we can continue to be leaders in our segment,” he explains.
How do Christian Grante and his team see the future?
“We’ve already launched our pilot electric site, where we test new technological solutions in a quarry in Gothenburg, Sweden. The trend for connected vehicles will definitely continue and will progress significantly. It will be about connecting vehicles to full systems, where they will interact with each other in complete logistics solutions,” he reveals.
He also foresees a much greater degree of cooperation between people and robots than today.
“Artificial Intelligence is one of the major areas where progress can just go on and on. And we’ve already started down that road. I was involved in the development of the self-driving truck in Boliden’s mine a few years ago, which is actually one big robot,” he says.
In order to find their way among all the information, Christian and his employees work closely with a number of universities and research institutes around the world. They are in contact with technical experts and futurologists and also study their competitors.
They also have a key role in spreading and building knowledge within the organisation.
“We aim to secure Volvo CE’s capabilities for the future. To do that, we create various innovation networks and technology groups within the company in order to maintain and utilise our company’s knowledge,” he says.
Christian also collaborates with other companies within the Volvo Group.
“We are extremely fortunate to have so many companies in so many areas – trucks, buses, engines and construction equipment. That breadth means that we can drive the business forward and take advantage of all the knowledge that exists within the Group,” he concludes.
This is how we work with innovation: