• Mercedes-Benz’s strategic funding for Stanford School of Engineering will enable a total of 15 graduate students to conduct hands-on, real-world research in the field of AI and its application in the automotive industry
  • UC San Diego’s groundbreaking 3D imaging research led by professor Henrik I. Christensen allows Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA) to tap into the state-of-the-art institutional research resources at the Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory
For EQS Hyperscreen: Stanford students will have the chance to explore artificial intelligence technology integration while working on the NTG-7 hyperscreen test bench
Prof. Christensen: Professor Henrik I. Christensen leads the Contextual Robotics Institute at the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Sunnyvale, California – Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. (MBRDNA), a Silicon Valley-headquartered research and development subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, has started new research collaborations with two universities: 1. Stanford University School of Engineering; and 2. the University of California San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute. MBRDNA has earmarked a six-month funding initiative aimed at advancing the research of AI and its potential to elevate in-car passenger experience and autonomous driving.

Both universities are poised to gain enhanced research prospects, resources, and real-world applications through close collaboration with MBRDNA’s engineers. MBRDNA expects to gain potential innovations emerging from these collaborations.

New Research Horizons for Stanford Students

Stanford, recognized as one of the cradles of AI innovation since the establishment of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) in the 1950s, has been chosen by MBRDNA as a key enabler in advancing the AI-driven passenger experience. Fifteen Stanford students enrolled in Course Project-Based Design, Innovation and Development will have the opportunity to embark on field trips to two global hubs of innovation at Mercedes-Benz: 1. MBRDNA’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, California; and 2. Mercedes-Benz’s global headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

The academic challenge presented to the students is related to the MBUX Virtual Assistant announced at CES 2024, for which Mercedes-Benz has used advanced software and generative AI to create an even more natural and intuitive relationship with the car. For instance, the software can offer helpful suggestions based on learned behavior and situational context. Divided into three teams, Stanford students are formulating project ideas with expansive scope, exploring the full spectrum of possibilities with AI, from optimizing the productivity of customers’ daily commutes to addressing the challenging task of parking, and refining a personalized in-car voice assistant powered by fine-tuned large language models.

“Mercedes-Benz’s educational collaborations with Stanford and UCSD are more than a financial funding commitment; they underscore our dedication to fostering the next generation of leaders in the tech space. We look forward to the discoveries and advancements that will emerge from our collaboration.”

Philipp Skogstad, President and CEO at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America

“We’re grateful to MBRDNA for their support that provides students with experiential learning opportunities, particularly as they relate to the possibilities that AI enables in the automotive sector,” said Jay Borenstein, lecturer for Stanford’s Project-Based Design, Innovation and Development course.

Leading 3D Imaging Research at UC San Diego

Strengthening MBRDNA’s commitment to academic institutions is the newly expanded research scope with the Contextual Robotics Institute at the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Led by Institute Director and UC San Diego Computer Science Professor Henrik I. Christensen, the research team’s Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory (AVL) focuses on perception and fusion for automated driving, particularly on 3D scene reconstruction from camera images, which could ultimately contribute to the safety features of our AV systems. The objective of this project is to initiate an effort building on prior work from Christensen’s lab and integrate it with a real-time 4D Neural Radiance Fields (NERFs) model to build a model segmented into semantically meaningful regions.

“We are very excited to join forces with Mercedes-Benz Research North America to expand our work on dynamic scene models for autonomous driving,” Professor Hendrik I. Christensen said. “This is a great opportunity for us to broaden our approach and also build a new alliance.”

The collaboration is built on MBRDNA’s strong and active link with the UC San Diego community. Besides the newly established research interest in autonomous driving, MBRDNA’s Powertrain Organization collaborates with the UC San Diego Sustainable Power and Energy Center with a specific interest in building enhanced battery research.

Mercedes-Benz made history as the first automotive company to have a research and development arm – MBRDNA – in Silicon Valley. Since its establishment, MBRDNA has forged research collaborations with universities and key researchers across the country that have led to joint publications and recruitment opportunities. MBRDNA is a key part of Mercedes-Benz’s global network for digital transformation, brought ground-breaking tech partnerships on the way, and established a strong technological moat to support the company’s path forward to be the most desirable tech luxury brand.


As a U.S.-based research and development subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA) is responsible for the development of advanced technologies spanning autonomous driving, electric vehicles, connected car solutions, and software development, among other areas of focus. MBRDNA currently employs more than 600 developers, technicians, engineers, and designers who collaborate closely with Mercedes-Benz R&D facilities around the globe.

Learn more about current topics and events related to MBRDNA on our @Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. LinkedIn channel at https://www.linkedin.com/company/mbrdna/.  Learn more about our open positions at https://jobs.lever.co/MBRDNA 


Yifei Wu, phone:+1 669 4546758, yifei.wu@mercedes-benz.com