Mercedes-Benz has opened a new 200 million euro (US$218 million) software centre in Germany, its latest investment in boosting in-house software capabilities as it works to bring its own MB.OS operating system onto the market by 2024.
Around 750 of the 3000 new hires that the luxury carmaker plans to bring in globally to develop the operating system were hired in the city of Sindelfingen, working on features from in-vehicle entertainment to autonomous driving.
The centre is part of a wider effort by Mercedes-Benz to streamline its software strategy from a patchwork approach bringing in technology from a wide range of suppliers to controlling the core of its software offering itself.
"We take responsibility for software architecture and integration – that is our main goal," chief software officer Magnus Oestberg said in a roundtable.
"We don’t do everything ourselves – we place value on partnerships, but of course the parts that are most important for us, we do in-house."
One such partnership is with US computer graphics specialist Nvidia, with whom Mercedes-Benz struck a deal in 2020 to develop assisted and self-driving functions that will form part of the MB.OS system launching in two years time.
The carmaker is 600 unfilled vacancies away from achieving its goal of a global team of 10,000 software engineers in Berlin, China, India, Israel, Japan, and the United States.
"The profile of a software engineer is highly sought-after - demand is considerably higher than supply," chief technology officer Markus Schaefer said.
In a survey of 572 auto executives by research institute Capgemini, 97 percent said that four out of 10 in-house workers will need to have software skills within five years, from IT architects to cloud management professionals to cybersecurity experts.