Digitalisation, autonomous driving, security and connectivity – these trends will heavily influence vehicle development in the future. In order to meet the vast and fast technological changes, Daimler has set up a global network of Research and Development facilities that is kept continuously up-to-date. This network is vital to master the challenges of the future, to anticipate and recognize customers’ demands and to act quickly and flexibly. The development times for fascinating products and state-of-the-art technologies and innovations can thus be greatly reduced.
With the opening of the Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Center in Tel Aviv on 16 November, Daimler clearly underlines its commitment and strategy to internationalise and specialise its global research facilities. The new R&D centre in Tel Aviv focuses on digital vehicle and mobility services, which perfectly fit the strong competence of the Israeli start-up nation.
“Israel is among the top five ecosystems for innovation, digital technologies, new mobility services and car IT. And it is one of the top four largest talent pools in the world”, says Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “With our new Technology Center in Tel Aviv, we want to strengthen our global R&D network and tap into this vibrant mix of creativity, optimism and digital competencies to develop innovative mobility solutions for our customers.”
At the new digital hub in Tel Aviv, a specially-skilled team of about 25 employees will contribute to and support the worldwide activities in mobility services and digitalisation in 2018. Besides the development and testing of pilot projects for new user interfaces, the aim is to establish and maintain a network of local partners, universities and high-tech companies. Working in tandem with the Israeli start-up community, the goal is to create various technologies that support the connected vehicle, such as biometric authentication, navigation and other innovations.
Initial results already demonstrate how the new Technology Center in Israel systematically supports the CASE strategy of Daimler, for example through cooperations with accelerators such as “The Bridge” and through investments such as Via and StoreDot.
“The Bridge” accelerator program
MBRD Tel Aviv, together with Daimler IT, has already partnered with “The Bridge” accelerator program in order to anticipate and recognize customers’ demands and to act flexibly and quickly. After screening 150 start‑up candidates and carrying out 67 face-to-face interviews in Tel Aviv, Daimler succeeded with 11 startups. Daimler managed to facilitate over 70 meetings with Business Units from all areas of the company, which resulted in multiple in-depth discussions with about 15 departments afterwards. This cooperation finally led to multiple pilots, but more excitingly to the new EQ Ready App, which Daimler developed with one of the start-ups (Anagog) in less than 5 months and which was launched at the IAA in Frankfurt this year.
“The Bridge” is a unique commercialization program for start-ups, acting as a bridge between the Israeli entrepreneurial community and all major global markets.
Joint Venture between the Van division of Daimler AG and Via
Another first success is the joint venture signed in September between the van division of Daimler AG and the start-up company Via. Daimler Mobility Services additionally joins in as a strategic investor in Via. Unlike other ride-hailing companies, Via has focused on developing a scalable and on-demand ride-sharing solution from the ground up. The intelligent Via algorithm supports smart public transport, enabling a dynamic mass transit system that reduces traffic volume in urban areas. The fusion of Via’s technology with the engineering of Mercedes-Benz Vans creates the perfect match for efficient, affordable and sustainable ride-sharing. As part of the cooperation, Mercedes‑Benz Vans is investing 50 million US dollars in the new joint venture.