Mercedes-Benz opened a new €200 million (US$217 million) software hub at the Mercedes Technology Center (MTC) in Sindelfingen, Germany. The investment will intensify the approach of cross-functional collaboration, said the automaker.
"The Electric Software Hub is an epicenter of our research and development and at the same time closely networked with the worldwide production sites. This is where key aspects of the future of Mercedes-Benz become reality - especially our own Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS). Cars are among the most complex products in general. The hardware and software are decoupled and must work together perfectly," said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management and CTO, Mercedes-Benz Group AG.
The new tech center accelerates innovation within Mercedes-Benz amid the industry’s transformation. OEMs continue pushing their evolution from carmakers to mobility providers, and technology plays an essential role in the transformation. With increasing digitization, the control units in the vehicle are taking on increasingly complex tasks, from infotainment and driving assistance systems to the electric drive.
Integration of all components is crucial and highly complex, says Mercedes-Benz, and the Electric Software Hub “offers decisive advantages in this new vehicle world.” The tech center has 1,100 experts from 19 cross-functional departments, working together “in closer physical proximity than ever before.” Along with the expansion of digital testing procedures, this increases both the pace and the quality of the integration processes, said the automaker.
Mercedes-Benz introduced MB.OS amid its transition to “Digital First” to introduce the automaker’s own data-driven and flexibly updatable operating system, starting in 2024. The new Electric Software Hub accelerates the digital transformation while creating 1,000 new jobs within its facilities and an additional 2,000 in the global R&D network, which includes Berlin, Tel Aviv, Seattle, Sunnyvale, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul and Bangalore.
The increasing digitization of vehicles is encouraging technology companies to enter the automotive industry. Recently, Qualcomm Corp signed deals to supply chips to Volvo Group, Honda Motor and Renault, pushing its automotive industry strategy with legacy firms digitizing their vehicles, as reported by MBN.
Although partnerships with tech companies remain important for Mercedes-Benz, the core technological parts are developed in-house, said Magnus Oestberg, Chief Software Officer, Mercedes-Benz AG: "We take responsibility for software architecture and integration–that is our main goal. We do not do everything ourselves; we place value on partnerships, but of course the parts that are most important for us, we do in-house."
While Mercedes-Benz does not hold any R&D operations in Mexico, the automaker assembles vehicles in the Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes (COMPAS). The plant, which began operations in 2017, is a US$1 billion joint venture from Mercedes-Benz and Nissan. Mercedes-Benz started assembling at COMPAS in 2018 and currently manufactures the SUV GLB within the Aguascalientes facilities.