Turning science fiction into reality

Aric Dromi
Self-driving cars, cars talking to each other and safety systems that predict danger? What used to be science fiction is now becoming reality in today’s Volvos. So what’s next? Volvo Cars’ Chief Futurist, digital philosopher and ‘professional troublemaker’, Aric Dromi, looks into his crystal ball. 

“In the future, the way we’ll interact with our cars will go far beyond just the driving,” says Aric. “Future Volvos will help us with all aspects of our daily lives, so we will interact with them all day long. Already, you can have deliveries made to your Volvo instead of going to the shop or being at home at a certain time.”

This is just one way in which future Volvos will make life easier and more convenient for you. Offering transportation services and not just cars as products will be a major benefit to consumers. “A concrete example of what the customers are asking for is a more user-friendly interaction with the car. That is, not an interaction with a machine, but with an IT system. Therefore we have to continue to improve software in order to make driving simple and more enjoyable.”

For Aric, people are what make the company change and grow. “When I started working at Volvo I wasn’t passionate about cars,” he says. “But I wanted to be part of a team in which I could be part of the transformation of creating a product that I could relate to. Now, I have fallen in love with the brand. Of course it can break my heart occasionally but it also takes me to the highest levels. I will fight for Volvo. And I see many others who will as well.”

Aric, who grew up in Israel, is aware that the Swedish desire for consensus is good in many ways, but it can slow down the process. His approach is a good example of how different cultural backgrounds can be an advantage for Volvo: “I run fast and make everybody agree along the way. Instead of saying ‘I told you so’, nowadays I say ‘I showed you so’.”

There’s no limit to what we will be able to do in the future, according to Aric. We’ll see Volvos with autonomous driving capability in the hands of ordinary people, in ordinary traffic, as soon as 2017, when our Drive Me pilot scheme is rolled out. Further down the line we’ll have self-aware robotic cars with artificial intelligence and much more. “The ultimate way of transportation is teleportation. It might take time but eventually we will crack the nut,” Aric predicts. “George Bernard Shaw once said ‘The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man’.” At Volvo Cars, Aric is one of those bold, “unreasonable” dreamers.