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Daimler joining MIT CSAIL Alliance Program for AI work; cognitive vehicles

Daimler is becoming a new member of the MIT CSAIL Alliance Program. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is the largest research laboratory at MIT and one of the world’s most important centers of information technology research. With 1,000 members and more than 100 principal investigators coming from eight departments, CSAIL includes approximately 50 research groups organized into three focus areas: artificial intelligence, systems and theory.

Key CSAIL initiatives currently underway include tackling the challenges of big data, developing new models for wireless and mobile systems, securing computers and the cloud against cyber attacks, rethinking the field of artificial intelligence, and developing the next generation of robots. CSAIL Alliances is a gateway into the lab for organizations seeking a closer connection to the work, researchers and students of CSAIL.

Daimler has worked with numerous renowned research institutions in the field of artificial intelligence for years. Daimler has been expanding its network to universities with innovative instruments such as “Forschungscampus”, tech centers, shared professorships and industry fellowships and start-up incubators and accelerators. These efforts, and the new alliance with CSAIL, reflect the importance of artificial intelligence for Mercedes-Benz.

Artificial intelligence is a key future topic for Mercedes-Benz, in-car and beyond, such as in the fields of mobility services or in development and production. Artificial intelligence has ceased to be science fiction and the progress in autonomous driving is an impressive proof of this. Likewise, AI already assists the development phase and production by providing intuitive access to global knowledge and knowhow—always tailored to the individual needs, experiences and knowledge of the employee.

Mercedes-Benz is rigorously advancing its research and development in different directions so as to continue to play a pioneering role in the automotive industry in the development and application of artificial intelligence. The new cooperation with the MIT ideally complements this. The partnership enables us to benefit even more directly from the research results of a leading world institute and to network with the best brains. We aim to continue to play a leading role in shaping the future of mobility—with new mobility concepts, with cognitive cars and services which focus on people and make their daily lives easier and better.

—Anke Kleinschmit, Head of Daimler Group Research

An important objective of Mercedes-Benz’ activities relating to artificial intelligence is the development of cognitive vehicles. Such vehicles are not only able to respond to certain situations; they have enough knowledge about their environment to be able to act autonomously on this basis. Coupled with corresponding services they could become the fundament for a holistic mobility eco-system of the future, Daimler suggests.

For example, cognitive vehicles could autonomously analyze the current traffic situation for all forms of transport and draw up an individual mobility plan that suits the customer’s personal daily routine and mood. In addition, household robots and delivery drones could be linked to the system with the cognitive car as the control centre for this.

Unlike smartphones and wearables, the car would surround the person and become a surrounding for a digital experience. It could analyze the driver’s behavior, interpret needs and adapt accordingly. It would be able to identify what he or she wants in certain situations and what he or she needs. Examples of this are playing the right music to suit the current mood, setting the most pleasant temperature or developing services relating to health and safety. Moreover, the cognitive vehicle would offer self-determined access to an individualized artificial intelligence which supports human beings, entertains them and could even challenge them intellectually.

(At CES 2017, Honda will showcase the NeuV, a concept automated EV commuter vehicle equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) called the “emotion engine” that creates new possibilities for human interaction and new value for customers. The “emotion engine” is a set of AI technologies developed by cocoro SB Corp., which enable machines artificially to generate their own emotions. (Earlier post.)

Image and pattern recognition as an important milestone on the way to autonomous driving. To successfully embark on this path, vehicles must be able to acquire knowledge about their environment as well as analyse it. This machine learning already plays an important role for autonomous driving as of today.

Mercedes-Benz is working intensively on the further optimization of automatic image and pattern recognition for driver assistance systems and autonomously driving vehicles. A decisive topic here is the interaction of cameras, sensors and the associated computing units—i.e., sensor fusion.

The system breaks down the pictures of road scenes into abstract segments with colored marking. In this way it identifies buildings, vehicles, persons, trees and pavements among other things and reliably finds traffic lights as well as smaller dangerous obstructions on the road. Based on this, the autonomous vehicle analyses the traffic situation, predicts the behaviour of other road users and decides on its own behavior.

In daylight many systems for image and pattern recognition, on the market are reliable. Meanwhile, our system even offers top level results at night and that is a major development. The next step is about recognizing and interpreting people’s gestures and facial expressions.

—Dr Uwe Franke, responsible for image recognition/signal processing and sensor fusion in the Mercedes-Benz development department

The recognition of gestures, facial expressions and people’s understanding of machine behavior makes an operative interaction between man and autonomous vehicles possible. On this basis, trust can be created between humans and machines. Vehicles must be able to make it clear that they recognize pedestrians and pay attention to them. Pedestrians must receive information about where an autonomous vehicle is going, how it will behave in the next few moments and how they should behave themselves.

Finding and making faster use of ideas and potential with AI. Mercedes-Benz is not just using artificial intelligence with regard to its vehicles. Among other things the company is testing self-learning systems in the observation of technology trends, in the interpretation of development and test data as well as for the industrial maintenance of its production and manufacturing facilities.

Artificial intelligence can make a decisive contribution to diagnosing technical problems. For example, until now production maintenance staff either had to search through huge amounts of documents or fall back on their personal experience to get information about machine defects. The tested system handles documentation with natural language processing and serves as a semantic search engine. Unlike a keyword-based search engine the focus is on the meaning of the request. This enables requests in the form of various fault descriptions, for example “oil is leaking” or “leaking pipes”. In this way repair and maintenance processes can be speeded up and made more efficient.


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A bit off topic but then again not. Another amazing AI tech based on AI for self-driving cars that is able to identify people and see and understand what they purchases is now being promoted by Amazon that has developed it. Go and see for yourself in the video in the link. It is truly amazing. You just go into a supermarket take your stuff and go again. The AI will have identified you using cameras and also seen every item you took in order to bill your bank account when you leave. There is none usual checkout. Amazon will start launching public stores with this tech in 2017.

The big take from this is that AI software is now extremely capable at analyzing video feeds and to identify and understand what is going on. An AI that sees a car, person or street sign knows what it is. It has learned it by analyzing millions of video feeds where it was told what each image was until it could make that conclusion by itself.

AI software can now also read what humans say only by looking at video feeds of talking humans without audio. AIs can do that better now than the best humans. AIs can also translate in real time from one language to another using audio better than any human trying to do that in real time. So we are fast approaching a world where computers understand humans not just through a keyboard but also read body language, voice, etc. This opens up a lot of opportunities that was not possible before like self-driving cars and supermarkets without checkouts.


Is that the same Tesla who currently offer no advanced driving functions at all, merely installing the hardware and promising that some of the software will be coming in stages, starting:
'Some time soon?'

Personally I like to see things work before claiming that they are superior.

Hopefully it will be less lethally inadequate than AP1, but that remains to be seen.

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Davemart at Tesla they have a mantra that all engineers are thought at the start of their work at Tesla and that is “not to let the perfect be the enemy of the better”.

If Tesla did like you suggest and that is more old school very little progress would be made in the same order of time. At Tesla they do not have annual or 5 year updates like other car makers. They implement better designs as soon as they are done and tested like 20 revisions per week at the assembly line. This is why Tesla is getting more and more ahead of its competition. The competition is not catching up they are falling more behind. It is tragic and a display of ineptness by the old automakers. They should forget about pride and just copy Tesla all of them because Tesla is the most intelligent leader in all regards.

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By the way Musk has Tweeted that the new enhanced autopilot will be ready by 24. of December so that the grownups also has a little something to play with the next day.


Pushing out an update on 24 December sounds like marketing overruling engineering similar to the roll out of the Boeing 787 on 7 / 8 / 2007. It took them years to get over the rushed implementation that came from that artificial deadline

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Well Musk did not give an exact date more a likely estimate that coincided with Christmas. he said 3 weeks at nov. 27 for autopilot 8.1 on both old teslas and the new ones with hardware version 2.


Musk will want it out as soon as possible in any case now it just coincide with Christmas.


I met a fellow recently who was driving a Tesla. He said his only complaint is that the software is updated every two or three days, so every time he drives the experience is just a little different -- better maybe, but different.

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JMartin I read it as camouflaged bragging not complaining. He is happy about it. Most people look forward to software updates as they may contain real improvement besides bug and security fixes.


An IBM fellow was interview recently, he said after 40 years there still is no TRUE AI. They are getting closer, but this requires massive real time image processing with pattern recognition as well as AI.

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