Northvolt assembles AI experts to improve EV battery production

Northvolt factory. Image credit: Stock photo.

Stockholm-based battery manufacturer Northvolt has assembled a team to harness the power of artificial intelligence to streamline the development and production process of electric vehicle batteries.

Led by Siddharth Khullar, a former AI researcher at Apple, the team of machine learning experts is tasked to double testing throughput in certain areas. At Northvolt Ett, the company’s main manufacturing facility in Skellefteå, the team has already deployed AI-powered sensors and software to enhance production and testing processes. They also explore AI integration for research and development at Northvolt Labs in Västerås.

“We think in some areas we would be able to save up to 50% of latency. That would mean being able to do twice the number of experiments with the same number of people,” Khullar said.

With over six years of experience at Apple, Khullar contributed to Apple Watch features and research projects related to sleep tracking and autonomous driving. Since joining Northvolt a year ago, his team has grown to 18 members and is actively seeking additional talent.

Although AI cannot substitute for a decade of hands-on experience in a specific workflow, Khullar explained that it can support professionals in other areas. Some include conducting extensive knowledge searches, summarising information, preparing content, analyzing large datasets, and revealing patterns to facilitate informed decision-making.

Driving efficiency

Northvolt, Europe’s leading domestic battery manufacturer, is rapidly expanding its production capacity, with plans to establish factories in Germany and Canada. With over €8.19 billion raised in equity and debt, the company has secured orders exceeding €50 billion from prominent automotive clients such as BMW, Volvo Car, Polestar, and Volkswagen.

To develop more cost-effective and efficient EV batteries, battery manufacturers compete to commercialise cutting-edge technologies. Although machine learning’s applications in battery research are still in their early stages, the data-driven and intricate nature of the industry makes it an ideal fit for AI’s transformative power.

Northvolt’s team is actively exploring the application of AI in various aspects of battery development, including chemistry, cell design, and manufacturing processes. For instance, they are investigating how machine learning can replace manual inspections. It is a crucial step, considering Northvolt’s main factory alone has around 4,000 inspection points.

Beyond enhancing efficiency, AI also manages the colossal volume of data generated during battery production. The sheer volume of data would overwhelm human capabilities, making AI’s integration essential for effective data processing and informed decision-making.

Techarenan News/Monok

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