Intelligent machines in a smart city
Even if Silicon Valley is still a household name and most companies in the field of AI are based in the US or in Asia, Germany is a rapidly growing market with research facilities, startups and tech companies implementing diverse AI-applications successfully and to an international attention.
Berlin has an AI edge
As early as the mid-2000s companies from the AI-sector increasingly located their business in Berlin-Brandenburg. Of Germany’s 458 ICT companies a total of 28% are now based in the region. Considering the distribution of AI-startups in the country, the Munich-based initiative for applied artificial intelligence counted 51 of these tech innovators in the German capital.
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The growing importance of Berlin as a centre of artificial intelligence is also closely related to its vibrant science environment. According to a study a total of 50-65 professors of different fields of application are carrying out research at numerous research facilities, colleges and universities. Many ideas are already launched from university and research projects and further developed. Labs, hubs and accelerator programs of established companies offer young founders their know-how, network and a platform for proto-typing. In return these companies receive input about new technologies and developments. According to a study by the Berlin Technology Foundation, 232 topic-relevant research projects were carried out in the German capital between 2007 and 2017.
Diversity is key
Berlin’s AI assets are manifold. Around 80% of companies and start-ups operate in the business-to-business sector and mainly develop expert and language assistance as well as chatbots. Besides trade, the entertainment sector and industry, the developments are mainly used in three areas of application: Business Intelligence and Process Management, Health Intelligence as well as Mobility and City Intelligence.
With 36 per cent, innovations and services which analyse and improve internal processes account for the largest share. For example, knowledge-based expert and language systems automate business processes, making them more efficient and transparent. With the help of AI systems, market data is analysed and evaluated with a view to expected future developments. Other developments simplify personnel recruitment or help to implement marketing activities in a more targeted manner and to address customers better with data-protected analyses.
Berlin, as a tech-hub, has its fair share of AI projects, with over 30 companies in the game – from retail giant Zalando conducting market research to FinTech N26 using machine learning to detect fraud or the Bundeswehr’s new “Cyber Innovation Hub” in Moabit.
AI systems from Berlin are used not only to support the internal processes of hospitals, but also for operation planning, diagnostics and data analysis of specific clinical pictures. Apps on fitness and health are developed as well as chatbots which accompany patients during the healing process: from the diagnosis of the illness to the visit to the doctor.
A bright example in the field is the Berlin startup Ada, which obtained funding of 40 million euros in 2017 for their sophisticated AI-powered diagnostics app. Launched globally in over 130 countries, Ada serves as a personal health consultant who evaluates the user’s health symptoms to provide suggestions about how to deal with them swiftly and efficiently.
Mobility and City Intelligence
A special focus of the Berlin AI companies is the development of driver assistance systems. Besides the core areas of autonomous driving, Berlin is also working on AI systems for road maps, apps for pedestrians and augmented reality systems for air traffic.
The SAFARI project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, develops and tests technologies for highly automated and networked driving in a typical urban scenario, the Reinickendorf districts’ "Digital Test Field Berlin". This involves delivering high-precision map material, storing valuable information about lanes, traffic infrastructure, traffic light system data for self-driving vehicles.
Fittingly, there are companies developing hardware and software which enables machines to see intelligently. The Berlin startup BrighterAI, for instance, uses innovative deep learning methods to alter poor visibility and weather conditions from an image, such as rain, fog or poor lighting and reconstruct a true-to-life daylight version of it instead.
The new website #AI_Berlin is showcasing current and pioneering developments, lighthouses, inspiring stories, all networks, initiatives and experts in Berlin and Brandenburg to the national and international AI-community. The overall goal is to link tech companies, start-ups, research institutions and talents on one platform and visualise and further strengthen Berlin as an AI-hub.
DEEP BERLIN a is technology specific program to strengthen the artificial intelligence ecosystem in Berlin for driving cross-sector innovation. A growing community of Berlin based and technology driven professionals, students, startups, and institutions, enables a peer-to-peer engagement where members can harness creativity, innovation, validation, and funding.
Text: Uhura Creative Media
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