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.

The global Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Network
The global Mercedes-Benz Research and Development network consists of 25 locations in 11 countries. The largest facilities are located in Sindelfingen and Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Sunnyvale in California, Bangalore in India and Beijing in China. About 16,000 employees are currently working in this global network to make Mercedes-Benz vehicles even more efficient, connected and safe.

Why Israel in a nutshell

  • Israeli technologies, culture, mind-set and talent pool offer strategic opportunities to help Daimler advance its CASE strategy.
  • With 8 million inhabitants, Israel has the highest density of start-ups. Numerous creative ideas have been and continue to be developed in Israel.
  • Approximately 5,000 start-ups were funded by the government within the last years; this tendency is increasing.
  • More than 275 multinational companies with know-how export culture are located in Israel (e.g. IBM, Motorola, Intel, Broadcom, Marvell, Siemens, Google, Apple, BMW, Telekom, RWW etc.).
  • Israel offers solutions for the automotive sector, e.g. with software for fleet management and high-tech driver assistance systems.
  • Overall: a mixture of different cultures have formed and continue to form this country, among other things innovation and speed. And these qualities are a perfect match for the inventor of the automobile. That is why Daimler is establishing the new digital hub in Tel Aviv; to be part of this start-up culture.

Recently opened new digital hub in Seattle
With focus on Software Development and Data Operations in Cloud Computing Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA) opened the doors to another R&D lab this autumn. Only steps away from some of technology’s biggest brands and promising start-ups in the heart of downtown Seattle, software experts will expand and enhance connected car functionality in Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Source: Daimler AG