'We treat information as a critical business asset,' says Vanessa Eriksson, SVP, Chief Digital Officer at Zenseact

Media 7 | November 15, 2021

We had the opportunity to interview the data-enthusiast and the former first Chief Data Officer in Sweden, Vanessa Eriksson, SVP, Chief Digital Officer at Zenseact and Board Member at Fidesmo, where she explored the different features of the autonomous vehicle. Read on to find out more about the Zenseact protects critical business and company information.

We also understand the importance of aligning people, processes, and technology to meet our information security and data protection needs.

MEDIA 7: You are a pioneer and a leading-edge data practitioner with several years of experience. What inspired you to choose this career path?
VANESSA ERIKSSON:
It was way back in the early 2000s, while I was working at Ericsson’s Global Master Data Management office, that my journey with data began. It was here that I was first introduced to Master Data and I found myself developing a deep curiosity of the underlying technology, as well as understanding the need and value of having good quality in data. It became quite evident to me that I liked working with data and I wanted to continue to develop my skills within this field. So I targeted roles where data was a key part of the job. I moved to Sony Ericsson and worked as an Analyst, verifying data from 27 production sites all over the world. However, it was only at Telia where I believe my career within data really took off. Starting as Project Manager for procurement Master Data, I challenged everything from the way of working with data to data not being treated as the asset it was. I got nicknamed, "The lady with the whip," but nothing mattered as I got delivered results and built up my integrity.

I got the opportunity to lead Data Governance while it was still a new concept in the world, drive innovation and data monetization; but most importantly, anchor the Chief Data Officer role in Telia, Eurasia. Working with Gartner as an Advisory on their Board, I believe I am one of the first to have had the role of the Chief Data Officer in Sweden. Analytics and AI are part of every CDO role today, but I have had the good fortune to have found myself in an industry like no other: the autonomous vehicle! Working for start-up Zenseact as Chief Digital Officer, in addition to bringing the organization even further into the digital age, my responsibilities also include data and cybersecurity. My enthusiasm holds no bounds when I get to work with data! Today I work not just with core data management, but also with advanced techniques like federated learning, swarm learning, edge training; knowing how we can use it to make safer roads and create a sustainable future.


M7: What are some of the safe self-driving features that Zenseact offers in its software platform?
VE:
Zenseact’s mission is to preserve life by accelerating the move to zero collisions with the help of self-driving technology. What‘s more important to us is the speed to reaching zero collisions everywhere rather than the speed to reaching unsupervised technology somewhere. So, safety is the one main drive. OnePilot is our flagship service that offers a single experience throughout the user’s journey. Once activated in the vehicle, it offers three different modes of operation namely Drive, Cruise, and Ride, and a growth track from supervised comfort cruising towards unsupervised riding at high speed in a continuously growing ODD. 

The OnePilot software stack operates end to end from sensing to actuating torque requests. It comprises of a complete computer vision stack, tracking and low-level fusion of all inclusive sensing modalities, as well as planning and control software. Ride is our mode for self-driving functions where the main feature being offered will be HWP - Highway Pilot. HWP offers unsupervised automated driving. It enhances comfort and convenience by allowing the driver to engage in secondary activities. The HWP will then constantly be updated with geographics, weather conditions, and speed.

Read More: ‘Blockchain brings necessary control on how your data is used’ believes Scot Marcotte, Buck’s Chief Technology Officer


Analytics and AI are part of every CDO role today.



M7: What are some of the different ways you ensure Zenseact’s sensitive information is protected from cyber-attacks?
VE:
At Zenseact we treat information as a critical business asset. Our security strategies and measures are aligned to secure information throughout the life cycle using defense-in-depth techniques. We also understand the importance of aligning people, processes, and technology to meet our information security and data protection needs. Some of the techniques we have deployed include effective security policy and process management, information classification, awareness and training for information owners, employees, and a combination of various security monitoring tools. It is key for us to maintain compliance with leading practices for security management for both enterprise and product cyber security.


M7: As a board member of Fidesmo, what are some of the different ways you have tried to achieve the perfect gender balance within the organization?
VE:
I recently visited Fidesmo at their offices in Regeringsgatan, Stockholm, and was happy and proud to see the evident diversity in the organization. Talking to Alana Kennett, who has been with the company from its very start says, "When I joined Fidesmo a few years ago, I was the only woman in the company. Since then, women have made up almost 40% of new hires in both tech and non-tech positions. This shows the positive strides Fidesmo has made in attracting and hiring from a more diverse range of people. The company has always been very international and welcoming of different cultures – as we continue to grow, it is important to keep our focus on expanding the backgrounds, cultures, interests and experiences of our future colleagues which will only enrich our internal culture and external business further."

Read More: No backup can land companies in serious trouble, warns Tinesh Chhaya, Founder at Decipher Cyber


It is key for us to maintain compliance with leading practices for security management for both enterprise and product cyber security.

M7: What is your advice to young women stepping into the data industry?
VE:
I am a fiercely competitive person, (I am not without fault!). At the gym, I peek at the speedometer on the treadmill beside me and that makes me go faster because I believe can do better! It doesn’t always happen, but it helps me to constantly challenge myself and push the boundaries. I encourage and would advise women in tech and in other industries, to go further, conquer their fears and come out as winners.

ABOUT ZENSEACT

Zenseact's mission is to preserve life by accelerating the transition to zero collisions with the help of self-driving technology. They develop the complete software stack for ADAS and AD, from sensing to actuation. Their focus is to build a single cutting-edge software platform in order to serve various levels of autonomy and offer unequaled scalability at the same time. They operate out of Gothenburg, Sweden and Shanghai, China with approx. 600 employees. Zenseact’s first self-driving deployment will be launched on the next-generation vehicle platform from Volvo Car.

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Zenseact

Zenseact's mission is to preserve life by accelerating the transition to zero collisions with the help of self-driving technology. They develop the complete software stack for ADAS and AD, from sensing to actuation. Their focus is to build a single cutting-edge software platform in order to serve va...

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