As cars get more connected, and the final push is on toward automated driving, there is an increasing demand for ever complex mobility solutions, which is why Mercedes-Benz invited young computer programmers to the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show.
The company brought in 65 programmers with a penchant for vehicles to the place where they would be surrounded by connected vehicles of all makes for a 24-hour hackathon titled Hack.IAA @ me Convention, during which they could help shape the future of mobility — from idea, through programming, to prototyping.
The students from nine countries were tasked with coming up with ideas around topics of Artificial Intelligence and Car-2-X Technology. The coding sessions went for 24 hours and then they presented their projects on the Smart and Mercedes-Benz stage in an event hosted by Guy Kawasaki.
The winning project, HD Vision deep, registers the environment in a simple way to catalogue things such as available parking spots. The team who developed the AI prototype won a trip to the tech start-up event Web Summit in Lisbon.
Runners-up included team Air Key, which developed a facial recognition system to unlock a Smart car, and team MCI Plus Simon, which developed Chatbox messaging into a vehicle configurator for the X-Class.
“Intuitive mobility will determine our future. To this end, it is particularly relevant to enter into an exchange with young digital talents,” said Wilko Stark, Head of Daimler & Mercedes-Benz Cars Strategy. “I am delighted with the spirit, wealth of ideas and confidence of the students who presented their concepts right there at the IAA show. It is important that we also let our visitors to the show participate in the digital and cultural transformation at Daimler.”
The Hack.IAA @ me Convention was part of the hackathon series DigitalLife Campus that started in 2016 with 300 participants in five events at various locations around the globe. The final event in the current series will be in Barcelona at the 2018 Mobile World Congress at the end of February. The series was organized by the DigitalLife@Daimler team, which is the driving force behind Daimler’s digital transformation.
The Hack.IAA @ me Convention was also part of the international ME convention, an offshoot of Austin Texas’ annual SXSW technology conference (the world’s largest such event). During the Frankfurt event, Daimler specialists were available and advise and support the teams, and relay career advice and prospects to team members.