As director for innovation at Tier 1 supplier Valeo, Guillaume Devauchelle is shepherding technology changes through product lines as diverse as powertrain, thermal, passenger comfort, lights and windshield wipers. Devauchelle, 60, has spent his career in automotive. He spoke with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Olive Keogh.
Q: Are the big technology changes that are coming to automotive — electrification, autonomous, artificial intelligence— affecting your whole product lineup?
A: Yes. We have more than 100 products and have looked at them product by product. We have hardly found a single product that will not change.
How soon will AI be in widespread use in vehicles?
We have been using it already for years in sensor fusing. What is coming is double-loop artificial intelligence, which is a mix of embedded and cloud applications. That's why Valeo bought 50 percent of the machine learning and artificial intelligence startup CloudMade last year. Valeo also has launched the first global research center in artificial intelligence and deep learning dedicated to automotive applications.
You are already selling systems that support autonomous driving. What is the current scale?
We have delivered more than 10 million cars with semiautomatic parking. For us, it is not a future business. It is already our bread and butter.
What matters more in innovation, size or talent?
Talent. A team of five can be much better than a team of 100. This is why big companies such as Valeo need to remain humble. The competition can easily come from a very small company. We also try to embed a startup mindset within our r&d departments and our factories. Innovation is not just a department within the company.