Daimler and its Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America division opened its newly designed Silicon Valley R&D Center in Sunnyvale, California
"We have been operating various R&D locations in North America for many years now, in order to incorporate our customers' needs and technological and social trends into our vehicles more quickly," said Prof. Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
The opening of the new headquarters and Silicon Valley R&D Center represents the second major expansion of an international R&D location this year, the company said. In Spring, the firm opened a facility in India. After almost 20 years in Palo Alto, MBRDNA is now moving into a larger building as its R&D headquarters in Sunnyvale, just a few miles away. A workforce of around 100 is presently employed at the Mercedes-Benz Silicon Valley R&D Center, with plans for a doubling of resources in the next few years.
Activities at the new MBRDNA headquarters include “work on future premium infotainment and telematics solutions aimed at enabling our customers to continue their digital lifestyle in their vehicles, such as the Mercedes-Benz Apps,” the company said. “R&D work is also performed on the seamless integration of technologies, applications and smart devices into vehicles, such as the Apple iPhone and Android smartphones. “
The MBRDNA headquarters have also long been concerned with adapting driving assistance systems for the US market. This area is now undergoing substantial expansion into a research and advance development engineering department which will focus on functions relating to autonomous driving, the automaker said.
Other areas of research and development are fuel cell-powered electric vehicles and battery technologies. Since 2012 a team of Business Innovation, a Daimler AG think tank, has been in operation at MBRDNA, concerned with the development of innovative business models which go beyond the core business area of automobile manufacturing.
"We were the first automobile manufacturer with a research facility in Silicon Valley," says Prof. Weber. "It was already apparent to us back then that not only IT history but also the future of automotive
history would be written here." Silicon Valley, one of the most creative regions on earth, is not characterized by ingenuity alone. It also stands for a unique culture of cooperation: short distances, networking, innovations and informal meetings.”
"Establishing a close-knit network of R&D bases which ideally complement one another throughout the world will enable us to secure our vehicles' technology leadership on a long-term basis, thereby also bolstering the competitive strength of the Group as a whole," Prof. Weber added.