Dr Eric Larsen has been there from the beginning as head of development. “Back then, we started out in a small shed with just 20 people,” he recalls. Arwed Niestroj, CEO MBRDNA, adds: “It’s just different —- more relaxed than elsewhere. No-one here cares where you come from or what you look like.” The majority of today’s 240 employees in Sunnyvale come to work in jeans, T-shirt and trainers.
The Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Center in Sunnyvale, situated a few miles south-east of Palo Alto, is between 45 and 90 minutes’ drive south of San Francisco, depending on the traffic. The look and feel of the place are more contemporary than ever.
If anyone comes up with an idea at a meeting, they simply draw it on the washable office wall using a felt-tip pen. If rejected, the idea is just wiped off with a sponge. Welcome to the future of work — made in Silicon Valley. Despite the seemingly casual approach of the people in Sunnyvale, this is a place that will ultimately play a key role in shaping the future of the Daimler Group.
The general focus is on machine learning and predictive engine, i.e. the ability of future vehicles to identify the driver’s wishes and preferences and to predict possible actions; the available tools include voice recognition and graphical interfaces for the next generation of vehicles.
Away from automotive technologies, the team from Business Innovation is developing new business models for mobility, such as the shuttle service “Boost by Benz”, which takes the pressure off parents by driving children to after-school sports events or other recreational activities.
Example of emotive, intuitive and aesthetic User Experience Design: the current concept vehicle 'Concept IAA', the interior of which gives a clear vision of a Mercedes-Benz business saloon of the near future.