Who are you and what do you do at Zenuity?
My name is Ryan Brown. I am the Project Team Lead for the Highly Automated Driving team in Southfield USA.
What is your background?
From an educational standpoint, I have a bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Oakland University. My career has spanned over three startup companies, one that made superconducting magnets, one that made liquid crystal displays and another that made electric cars. While none of those companies ever took off, they were great learning experiences. I have worked in the automotive industry for about 15 years now, focusing on electronics including airbag controls, occupant sensing and forward facing cameras.
Why did you choose to join Zenuity/work here?
I joined Autoliv to work on the Highly Automated Driving program. When Zenuity was announced, it was a natural fit for our program. It is a great opportunity to work on cutting edge technologies while improving mobility and safety.
What is most important with the work that Zenuity is doing?
NHTSA has reported that 95% of automotive accidents can be traced back to human error. By automating driving, we can reduce that percentage, ultimately reducing the number of accidents.
…And why is that important?
Our company originates from the safety leaders of the automotive industry. 2016 saw a 6% increase in traffic fatalities in the U.S. alone. We have the opportunity to move the needle in the right direction and decrease traffic hazards.
How will the work that Zenuity does impact the customers? ….or the car industry?
First, the cars will become safer. That can’t be said enough. When we look at moving towards unsupervised driving, it opens up a world of possibilities. I consider commuting time to be wasted time. Once the car is doing the driving, commuting time can be made so much more useful, whether it is sending an email, catching a few more minutes sleep or reading the news.
I think transportation as a service has a huge upside. Currently, my car sits in a parking lot all day while I am in the office and then in my driveway when I am home in the evening. I am still paying for it 100% of the time, even though I use it a very small percentage of the time. It would make a lot of sense to be able to just call up a vehicle on an app, have it show up and take me to where I am going and then it goes off on its way. I only pay for what I use, there is no need for the car to take up a parking space and more people can get around with less cars. This is truly disruptive technology that changes not only mobility for the general public, but changes the traditional automotive business model.
And what is the most fun/thrilling part of the work?
It would be hard to pinpoint just one thing. It is definitely very cool to get into a car and let it do the driving. I have always liked working on cutting edge technologies, partially for the “wow” factor, but also because it means you work with a lot of very smart people with great ideas. Zenuity is a truly global company which leads to a great diversity of cultures and backgrounds. It is also fun to be developing a culture that is meant to work in a very different manner than the automotive industry has traditionally worked. Couple that with helping to build a team, makes for a very interesting opportunity.