AI has the potential to make an enormous difference in the transport sector, which is one reason why Adam chose Volvo. Another was the prospect of taking part in the electrification of the Volvo Group's vehicles.
Adam works at Volvo Group Connected Solutions, a global organisation that leads the development of the Volvo Group's connected services and solutions. Adam processes and analyses large amounts of data as part of his work.
"By analysing data from our connected vehicles, we understand how our customers use them. As a result, we can help make customers' business more efficient. This can mean offering vehicles and machines that are better adapted to the customer's needs, or services that make their daily work easier," he explains. "It's also crucial to keep customers' vehicles operating without disruption, and data analysis is an important tool in that regard."
As an example, Adam says that drivers can be given feedback about the fuel efficiency of their driving based on data from the vehicle. They can also be given suggestions on how to improve their driving or how to get the most out of the product. This increased understanding of customers can also be used in developing new vehicles and transport solutions.
A scientific approach is needed to deal with the problems tackled by Adam and his colleagues, all of whom have solid academic backgrounds in various fields. Adam isn't the only PhD graduate at his department.
"There's no standard checklist for this job," he points out. "You have to think outside the box and attack each problem differently. We team members help each other by coming up with new ideas and examining each other's conclusions. You have to be curious and systematic at the same time!"
Of course, data analysis is an important step in understanding and solving a problem.
"We use many advanced techniques such as machine learning, AI, data mining and algorithm development," Adam explains.
Another important aspect of Adam's work is being able to present and visualise his conclusions.
"We're here to create value for our partners. If they don't understand what we've done, they'll get no benefit out of it," he says.
Adam's favourite thing about the job is that it's varied and flexible and allows him to have an influence in the team. It's an opportunity to create important value for customers and for society at large.
"I get to be part of the whole process. It starts with an idea or a vague problem that needs to be clarified and then solved efficiently.
I'm involved in all stages of the process, from the initial meeting where the problem or idea is presented to writing the computer code that calculates the solution, and finally presenting the findings," says Adam.
AI and the future
Adam believes AI will be used increasingly in the future. He sees potential in all sectors for the automation of repetitive and manual work tasks, which minimises the risk of errors. There are also great opportunities for gaining knowledge and insights through new methods.
"There's a huge demand for what we're doing at Volvo, so the jobs won't run out. The demand will just increase," he says.
So what developments can we expect in the future transport sector with regard to AI? AI solutions play a key role in developing autonomous vehicles, which have the potential to revolutionise the entire transport sector. Adam also mentions smart planning systems as a potential area of application.
“AI can create opportunities for a more flexible transport system where routes and flows of people and goods are optimised in real time based on live transport needs and the traffic situation," explains Adam. "Today this planning is often done in advance and can't be changed, but a lot could be gained if the whole transport system could react faster. The potential for achieving this exists in today's connected world."
Large-scale data analysis is a relatively new phenomenon. Much of the data that Adam and his colleagues work with have been saved for completely different purposes.
"This can mean that data has historically not been saved as often as we would like, or that the meaning of a certain parameter has changed over time. But we just have to make the best of the data at our disposal," says Adam.
Adam spotlights what is perhaps the toughest challenge of all.
"The most important factor is making complex information simple and accessible, so that recipients can understand it and make well-founded decisions. That's how we can create value and make a concrete contribution," he emphasises. "If we don't succeed at that, we can't progress."
"There's a huge demand for what we're doing at Volvo, so the jobs won't run out. The demand will just increase."