AI Research Takes Root in Germany

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Germany is at the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe, with leaders from various industries working alongside top research universities in southwest Germany’s Cyber Valley to develop increasingly sophisticated machines with wide capabilities. 

Local innovation

The southwestern region of Germany has long been home to both academic and industrial heavyweights. World-class technical universities have co-existed with global giants such as BMW, Porsche, IBM, and Bosch for generations, but now a new initiative aims to bring these and other partners together to vault Germany into position as a leader in the fourth industrial revolution: one that hinges on the ability of scientists to create intelligent machines that can think, see, feel, respond, and collaborate with humans.

Silicon Valley as a role model

Taking its cue from the world’s top region for AI, Silicon Valley, a consortium of universities in the Stuttgart-Tübingen region announced the Cyber Valley initiative in 2016, uniting the area’s industrial and academic institutions to accelerate the development and commercialization of AI technologies for applications in the automotive, healthcare, and manufacturing sectors, among others. Partnerships between academia and industry are crucial for moving promising innovations from the lab to the marketplace, as well as for fostering a culture of entrepreneurship.

Cyber Valley

Cyber Valley has quickly become one of Europe’s largest research collaborations to advance breakthroughs in AI, attracting not only scholars from some of the top research institutions in the world, including the University of California Berkeley, Harvard University, University of Cambridge, and Columbia University, but also some of the world’s most influential corporations.

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Global partners

In 2017, Amazon joined the roster of companies adding their support to Cyber Valley and established a research hub near the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen. Another global technology giant, Google, is an industry partner of The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). Home to 800 scientists DFKI is one of the world’s largest research centers dedicated to AI. Germany consistently ranks among the top countries in the world for the number and impact of AI-related research publications, and is fourth only to Silicon Valley, Paris, and London in terms of the number of AI-related startups.

A major technological leap

Germany, like many other countries, has benefited from the advent of 21st century automation technologies, which transformed manufacturing and production. The next step in the progression of automation is actually a major technological leap–the development of robots and automated systems that can not only complete tasks, but can synergize with humans. Intelligent systems that can see, analyze situations, and sensitively respond to real-time cues—from human gestures and facial expressions to pedestrians crossing a crowded street— will reshape transportation, public health, the military, healthcare, construction, and production. Researchers in Cyber Valley and at institutions throughout Germany are tackling some of the most challenging—and exciting—aspects of AI research and development necessary to make that leap.