Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India
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Research and Development work
250 patents in 2015, ’16
In every Mercedes car, there's a huge part of India, Thomas Weber, adviser to Daimler, and till recently the member of the board of management of Daimler responsible for group research and Mercedes-Benz cars development, told TOIin an exclusive interaction.
Weber said Indian knowledge is built into the cars. Safety, he said, is one of the things key to the Mercedes brand. This, he said, can only be ensured by results from the simulation side, which is done in India. For instance, India does the simulations for the crash performance.Seat development of compacts is done completely in India, together with suppliers located in India. “There are seat guys in In dia, so why do it using high cost engineers in Silicon Valley?“ says Weber, who spoke to TOI on a visit to Bengaluru, when he was still a board member.
India has Daimler's biggest R&D presence outside of home country Germany . Of the overall 17,000 R&D employees, 2,000 are in India, mostly in Bengaluru, but also in Pune. It has 600 R&D employees in China and 300 in the US. The India centre -which has a total strength of 4,000, including those part of the company's IT team -is also the fastest growing, and is expected to add 1,000 more in 2017.
The India centre -called Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI) -started in 1996, and works on the development for Daimler buses and trucks, and Mercedes-Benz cars and vans.
“More and more softwarebased technologies are emerging, so the future looks bright for India. China is there, Silicon Valley is there. But specific talents in R&D, IT in India are really, really strong, and we will use them,“ Weber said.
At a separate event, where there were also several journalists from Europe, one asked Weber, “Can we say the artists are in Silicon Valley while Bangalo re has the craftsmen who implement it?“ Weber's reply was striking, “That's the process we started with, but it's totally changed now . These guys are competitors of those in Silicon Valley . The game has changed.“
Manu Saale, MD of MBRDI, said the centre builds cutting edge algorithms. MBRDI has filed more than 250 patents in the past two years, 141 of those in 2016. The futuristic ideas, Saale said, may be thought of in mature markets where the customers are -like the roof of the car should open or the music should start when you wave your hand, or the car should recognise the driver.
“We are not responsible yet for an entire car line, but we can get there. A Mercedes S-Class coming out of India -why not!“ said Saale.