Volvo Cars opened its largest software test center in Gothenburg, Sweden. The site is also set to expand further, more than doubling its capacity over time.
The center measures 22 000 m2. Volvo says it is “the new flagship in our network of development centers and tech hubs worldwide”. Volvo Cars also operates software test centers in Lund (Sweden) and Shanghai (China), but the new center in Gothenburg is by far the largest in size and capacity.
Initially, around 100 people will be employed. Once the new test center is fully utilized, the number is expected to grow to 300. In the future, the site will house around 500 test benches and digital test environments, compared to almost 200 at present. The Swedish company put the initial investment at 300 million Swedish kronor, some €25,7 million.
Rapidly changing industry
Volvo also states that it needs this new capacity “because, as our flagship EX90 shows, the automotive industry is changing rapidly”, the press release says. In May, Volvo admitted that the EX90 E-SUV and Polestar 3 production would be delayed until the first half of 2024 because it needed “additional time for software development and testing”.
It is still not known exactly in which areas of the vehicle the additional software work became necessary. The current announcement only describes the challenges in general terms: “The Volvo car of the future is fully electric, increasingly sold online, powered by cutting-edge core computers running in-house developed software, and constantly improves over time thanks to regular over-the-air software updates. In-house software development and testing is critical to realizing our strategic ambitions.”
“This is a state-of-the-art facility that will be the hub for our global software testing and validation activities,” says Anders Bell, global head of research and development at Volvo Cars. “Developers from all our global engineering sites and tech hubs can run software tests here remotely, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I firmly believe that with this new testing center, we’ve set a new benchmark for the automotive industry.”
Alwin Bakkenes, global head of software engineering, adds: “The aim is to boost our innovation speed by developing software for key areas for Volvo Cars. From core safety technology based on our deep understanding of what causes accidents to our perception and driver assistance algorithms and software for future autonomous driving.”
The Gothenburg site will work closely with our other global engineering centers that play a central role in software development. Last month, Volvo Cars established a new Tech Hub in Singapore, while it announced plans for another software-focused Tech Hub in Krakow, Poland, in February.
Other software engineering challenges include developing the next-generation connected features and supporting all the development work through data analytics. Volvo is actively recruiting software engineers at all its various locations around the globe.
Apart from the sites in Krakow and Singapore, Volvo Cars operates Tech Hubs in Stockholm, Lund in Sweden, and Bangalore in India. It also has large engineering centers in Shanghai, China, and Gothenburg, Sweden.
While each location has its own focus area, it makes up a crucial network of innovation centers strategically spread around the globe.