The world automotive press came to Sunnyvale Nov. 21 to witness the opening of Mercedes-Benz’s new research and development center, built to house the growing programs that develop digital, electronic, driver assistance and lifestyle products for the company worldwide.
Mercedes-Benz was the first automotive manufacturer to establish an R&D facility in Silicon Valley, opening in Palo Alto in 1995. The goal was to be near companies like Apple and Google that were playing a growing role in automotive electronics.
The staff in the new building comprises 200 people, with sufficient space to double the number of engineers and scientists. The Silicon Valley operation is part of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG.
The building itself, located at 309 N. Pastoria Ave., is designed around the mission of the organization, which is collaborative innovation among the staff members and across staff groups, and with joint-venture partners and other development organizations around the world.
All the staff areas are open-design, including the automotive lab and test garage, supplemented by audio-visual conference rooms, “huddle areas” for conversation, massive whiteboard walls to capture ideas and quiet rooms for individual work and conference calls. Surrounding the work areas are terraces overlooking the hills, break areas with food preparation facilities, a well-equipped cafeteria and two game rooms.