Author Topic: Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America funds educational initiatives  (Read 399 times)

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Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. (MBRDNA), a Silicon Valley-headquartered research and development subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, has started new research collaborations with two universities. The first is the Stanford University School of Engineering and the second is the University of California San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute. MBRDNA has earmarked a six-month funding initiative aimed at advancing AI research and its potential to elevate the in-car passenger experience and autonomous driving.

Both universities are poised to gain enhanced research prospects, resources, and real-world applications through close collaboration with MBRDNA’s engineers. MBRDNA expects to gain potential innovations emerging from these collaborations.
New research horizons for Stanford students

Stanford, recognised as one of the cradles of AI innovation since the establishment of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) in the 1950s, has been chosen by MBRDNA as a key enabler in advancing the AI-driven passenger experience. Fifteen Stanford students enrolled in project-based design, innovation and development courses will have the opportunity to embark on field trips to two global hubs of innovation at Mercedes-Benz. These are MBRDNA’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, and Mercedes-Benz’s global headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

The academic challenge presented to the students is related to the MBUX Virtual Assistant announced at CES 2024, for which Mercedes-Benz has used advanced software and generative AI to create an even more natural and intuitive relationship with the car. For instance, the software can offer helpful suggestions based on learned behaviour and situational context. Divided into three teams, Stanford students are formulating project ideas with expansive scope, exploring the full spectrum of possibilities with AI, from optimising the productivity of customers’ daily commutes to addressing parking challenges and refining a personalised in-car voice assistant powered by fine-tuned large language models (LLM).

“Research Cooperation is an essential part of Mercedes-Benz’s innovation strategy. Given the rapid pace of development in AI technology, close collaboration with the scientific community is essential. The partnership with Stanford and the University of California San Diego underlines our commitment to nurturing a new generation of talents in the tech industry. As a pioneer in automated driving technology, we look forward to the insights and advances that will emerge from this collaboration.”
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, Development & Procurement

“We’re grateful to MBRDNA for their support that provides students with experiential learning opportunities, particularly as they relate to the possibilities that AI enables in the automotive sector.”
Jay Borenstein, Lecturer for Stanford’s Project-Based Design, Innovation and Development course
Leading 3D Imaging Research at the University of California San Diego

Strengthening MBRDNA’s commitment to academic institutions is the newly expanded research scope with the Contextual Robotics Institute at the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Led by Institute Director and UC San Diego Computer Science Professor Henrik I. Christensen, the research team’s Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory (AVL) focuses on perception and fusion for automated driving, particularly on 3D scene reconstruction from camera images, which could ultimately contribute to the safety features of the AV systems. The objective of this project is to initiate an effort building on prior work from Christensen’s lab and integrate it with a real-time 4D Neural Radiance Fields (NERFs) model to build a model segmented into semantically meaningful regions.

“We are very excited to join forces with Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America to expand our work on dynamic scene models for autonomous driving. This is a great opportunity for us to broaden our approach and also build a new alliance.”
Hendrik I. Christensen, Institute Director and University of California San Diego Computer Science Professor

The collaboration is built on MBRDNA’s strong and active link with the UCSD community. Besides the newly established research interest in autonomous driving, MBRDNA’s Powertrain Organisation collaborates with the UCSD Sustainable Power and Energy Center with a specific interest in building enhanced battery research.

Mercedes-Benz made history as the first automotive company to have built a research and development division – MBRDNA – in Silicon Valley. Since its establishment, MBRDNA has forged research collaborations with universities and key researchers across the country that have led to joint publications and recruitment opportunities. MBRDNA is a key part of Mercedes-Benz’s global network for digital transformation, brought groundbreaking tech partnerships on the way, and established a strong technological moat to support the company’s path forward to be the most desirable tech luxury brand.
About MBRDNA

As a U.S.-based research and development subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA) is responsible for the development of advanced technologies spanning autonomous driving, electric vehicles, connected car solutions, and software development, among other areas of focus. MBRDNA currently employs more than 600 developers, technicians, engineers and designers who collaborate closely with Mercedes-Benz R&D facilities around the globe.