Future of the car

Daimler in Berlin

Besides electromobility, digitalization is a primary focus of the automotive industry. That's why all of the major car manufacturers are now in Berlin, the country's center for innovative digital technology. One good example is Daimler. The Stuttgart-based company has concentrated many activities in Berlin and in the surrounding state of Brandenburg, thus creating added value and jobs.

Daimler AG and its subsidiaries currently employ about 9,000 people in Berlin and Brandenburg, with more than 7,000 of them working in the capital city.

Dieter Zetsche © re:publica 2013

It was Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche who postulated the imminent digitalization of the German automobile industry at the Berlin digital conference re:publica a few years ago. In retrospect, it was perhaps this speech that helped loosen up this traditional leading German industry. In the meanwhile, Daimler has become one of the regular partners at Germany's largest digital conference, which brings in more than 7,000 participants from all over the world each year.

Meanwhile, the automaker has had a presence in Berlin for more than a century, which has left its architectural mark on the German capital. A showroom was opened on Unter den Linden in 1909 and the same space became home to the Mercedes-Benz Gallery Berlin in 2009. At Potsdamer Platz, Daimler built the 348 ft. Atrium Tower, the fifth-tallest building in Berlin. And an entire Daimler district is being built near the East Side Gallery in Berlin's Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district.

Car-sharing platform in Berlin by Daimler

But back to Daimler and Berlin as one of the places where the transition from automaker to mobility service provider can be experienced live. The car-sharing vehicles of the  car2go  fleet have been a part of the city's scene since 2012. The fact that Berlin is also the country's car-sharing capital is demonstrated by the more than 70 million km (44 million miles) driven by car2go's customers. In April 2017, Daimler also launched the Mercedes-Benz private car-sharing platform Croove in Berlin. Croove allows private car owners to make their cars available for the use of others. This platform is open to any vehicle make.

While Daimler has internally launched Croove as a start-up, the group is also a strategic investor for young entrepreneurs through its EvoBus subsidiary. EvoBus has an interest in the Berlin mobility service CleverShuttle​​​​​​​. Together, the aim is to promote the development of innovative solutions for on-demand services for regional transport authorities and companies to bring local public transport into the mobility revolution.

Fleetboard Innovation Hub

CleverShuttle is not the only startup that Daimler has an interest in. The Fleetboard Innovation Hub was founded in September 2016 at the heart of the start-up scene in Berlin's Mitte district as the first branch of Daimler Fleetboard GmbH outside Stuttgart. Fleetboard has become an ecosystem for logistics services and services based on digital telematics for commercial vehicles. The international team is developing ideas and solutions for digital products and services and wants to be in dialogue with Berlin's innovative start-up entrepreneurs. The same is the case with the Berlin branch of the Daimler Innovation Network "Lab 1886." It supports the company with innovative business models for facing the challenges of the future. Tapping into the international talent base in Berlin, it combines Daimler expertise with the speed and culture of start-ups.

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This article was originally published in German at intellicar.de