Mercedes-Benz at the Center of Innovation

MBRDNA head office

Silicon Valley in California is regarded as a center for innovation. Mercedes-Benz is making use of the region's unique spirit, anticipating its customers' future preferences and developing intelligent mobility solutions. The researchers' activities are focused on four areas.

One of the most creative parts of the world has also been home to Mercedes-Benz for more than 20 years: Silicon Valley in California. Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. (MBRDNA) was the first automotive manufacturer in the world to open a research and development center there in 1995. MBRDNA’s head office has been located in Sunnyvale since 2013. This is where around 240 employees work on the future of the car and mobility. The proximity to companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook, as well as creative small start-ups, allows Mercedes-Benz to incorporate innovations into its vehicles quickly and in close collaboration with its partners.

Through the special spirit in this center, we are already successfully anticipating today the customer wishes of tomorrow. We are finding intelligent solutions to synchronize the development cycles of the web and consumer electronics with those of the automotive industry.

Professor Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development

Focal areas for the research units

The developers in Sunnyvale focus on areas such as advanced user experience design, autonomous driving, connected car and user interaction. Business innovation teams are also at home here.

Interior design at the headquarters
The interior design at the headquarters contributes to the creative atmosphere.

Advanced user experience design

One focal area of development and design work carried out in Sunnyvale is the holistic design of the user experience. The aim is to make the way the driver interacts with the vehicle and its surroundings as simple, convenient and appealing as possible. This approach is reflected in the head unit of the Concept IAA, which was developed in Sunnyvale. A new user interface with 3D content generated in real time offers customers a completely new experience of operating a vehicle.

Autonomous driving

Be it Active Brake Assist, improved night vision, Active Lane Change Assist or other driving assistance systems – Mercedes-Benz is constantly enhancing safety and comfort on the road to autonomous driving. In order to test the differences between the traffic and infrastructure of different markets, the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle has been driving on California’s public roads since 2014. The rate at which the team is growing is not the only thing that reflects the relevance of this subject for Mercedes-Benz.

The S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle has been driving on California's public roads since 2014.

Business innovation

In addition to automotive technologies, the business innovation team develops new business models for mobility, which are inspired by social and cultural trends. The best example of this is the Boost shuttle service. This service collects children after school in Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans and drives them to their sports clubs or other leisure activities. This is an environmentally friendly service that makes things easier for parents. The researchers also make use of the findings of the Society & Customer Research Group. This unit provides detailed information on the American market and analyzes current developments and their possible consequences.

Connected car & user interaction

This unit designs, develops and tests technologies that change the way in which Mercedes-Benz vehicles and their occupants interact. First-class infotainment and telematics solutions from Sunnyvale allow Mercedes customers to continue their digital lifestyles from within their vehicles. The researchers are also working on interfaces for hardware, software and products that are mobile and linked to the cloud. Examples of infotainment innovations from Sunnyvale include the Mercedes-Benz apps for COMAND Online, mbrace and the Digital DriveStyle App. Further apps from Silicon Valley were presented in 2015, such as the Mercedes-Benz Companion app (the US counterpart to the Mercedes me App) and the smart cross connect app.


Sunnyvale lies at the heart of Silicon Valley. The Californian city is home to around 140,000 residents and many important IT and high-tech companies. Companies like AMD, Juniper Networks, HP Palm and Yahoo! are based here.

Jan 20, 2016
Nadescha Vornehm