Algorithms, cloud data and machine learning hackathon digitizes Mercedes-Benz Vans

Motivated students and young professionals competed in Silicon Valley November 5-6 in a 24-hour hackathon jointly organized by the Business Innovation Team of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Mercedes-Benz Vans and DigitalLife@Daimler. The fifth of its kind, the hackathon challenged attendees to develop intelligent transport and mobility concepts for the Mercedes-Benz Vans division. The team's "garage" in Menlo Park hosted the hackathon, inspiring competitors in their clever concepts and fresh ideas around the intelligent connectivity of vans, goods and people with the Internet of Things and cloud data.

Experienced mentors were on hand to help the teams with words and deeds. After 24 hours, the ideas were pitched to the team of expert judges from Mercedes-Benz at the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America in Sunnyvale. The jury rated criteria such as the degree of innovation and business potential of the ideas, as well as the use of IoT and cloud technologies and the functionality of the prototype.



The winner: MBarc

The “MBarc” team developed an app that enables the drive to assess damage to their vehicle at all times. The driver uses his smartphone to take a 360-degree shot of his van. The app then accesses data-based reference models, compares them with the vehicle and identifies possible damage. The damage is then analyzed and the need for repair is assessed – a quick and simple way to optimize fleet management.

Second place: FleetWise

The “FleetWise” team was successful with the idea of intelligent fleet routing for electric vehicles. In their concept, machine learning is employed to determine the usage of the vehicle battery based on current traffic situations and the driver's driving style as well as on the weight and size of the vehicle. As a next step, the app suggests a suitably energy-saving route or indicates the way to the nearest charging station.

Third place: VANage

The "VANage" team used IoT- and cloud-based sensors, route information and driver profiles to accurately predict maintenance intervals and thus to increase driver safety as well as to efficiently plan vehicle usage times.

With its strategic initiative "adVANce", Mercedes-Benz Vans is transforming itself from a vehicle manufacturer into a provider of integrated, customer-focused solution. Since the start of the year, the Future Transportation Systems team in Silicon Valley has been working on concrete logistics concepts.

Learn more about the innovative teams you can join with a career at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America.