Digital Lab


      A new level of engineering: in the “Digital Lab”, IAV develops market-ready innovations in next to no time

      New product ideas and products are not created “behind closed doors”. They are created where enthusiastic people communicate with each other, exchange ideas, inspire each other and work together. This also applies to digitizing vehicles – this is why we are leaving the beaten track at IAV and implementing the digital transformation of engineering throughout the company.

      As the world’s leading engineering partner, digitalization has long been part of our DNA – with the Digital Lab we are now raising development activities to a completely new level. We are trying out new formats for working together as well as open space concepts. Our teams work in an agile environment in Scrum to exploit the benefits of this procedural model. Old corporate structures are changing, and a working environment is emerging in which every member has the opportunity to quickly develop new ideas and get innovations ready for the market.


      New forms of work and a tight network boost creativity and effectiveness

      Everyday routine in IAV’s Digital Lab is marked by a noticeable startup atmosphere. At the same time, though, the developers still work closely to traditional engineering. In other words: comprehensive expertise based on many years of experience in the automotive sector is closely linked with agility. This encourages creative thinking and action.

      IAV is applying new, virtual models of collaboration. The focus is on agility and creativity, pooling competences and generating innovative ideas. Our staff network with each other across locations in “agile communities” – both communication as well as the exchange of technical know-how take place across our operating bases worldwide. Networking with other digital players also has high priority at IAV.

      Work environment & best practice

      The Digital Lab facilities provide the best possible basis for implementing our proprietary open space concept. Our “Always On” room permanently connects all members of a team and lets them contact each other at any time in VR meetings from wherever they are located in the world.
      The Digital Lab applies various agile methods to find the best possible approach to each project (best practice). In the interest of our customers and partners, the agile teams work quickly, creatively and with a high level of motivation to find new concepts and solutions as well as develop marketable innovations covering all aspects of digitalization.

      Hackathon & BarCamp

      Creativity, effectiveness and cooperation: cross-functional teams from various sections are working on new ideas in the fields of hardware and software. Internal hackathons help to provide a fast and innovative basis for finding solutions and generating ideas. Besides the hackathons, the Digital Lab has also devised and successfully implemented the first “IAV BarCamp”. Here, we do not set ourselves any specific subject matter but meet under the motto “Content will be determined by those participating”. At a “non-conference” of this type, experts from different divisions can inspire each other with their specific expertise. The result: highly motivated working groups develop creative solutions to all sorts of different problems.

      Other working models are also being tested. These include CrunchCamps in which participants live and work together for one week to develop new ideas. Brown Bag seminars – open discussions during the lunch break on technical matters, such as Artificial Intelligence – are another format. Lean Coffee is another format where colleagues gather once a month to talk about agile working methods.

      Digital Transformation

      In future, vehicles will largely be developed on a virtual basis

      Virtual rather than real-world prototypes, new development tools, such as Virtual and Mixed Reality, as well as reliable levels of maturity at an early stage of the product development process – this is what to expect from tomorrow’s engineering. It gives customers huge benefits such as extensively placing vehicle development on a virtual basis.

      Digital transformation of engineering

      In the Digital Lab, specialists from different divisions are working together on developing new processes, methods and tools for tomorrow’s digital engineering. This will make it faster and more efficient to find innovative solution strategies for our customers. It will be made possible by involving all development departments and all members of staff from start to finish.

      Virtual development

      In the Digital Lab we are working on the product development process for the digital age. Soon it will no longer be necessary to use prototypes: instead of constructing real-world vehicles, IAV will use digital models as the basis for testing and validation.

      Using new digital methods, the results will show a higher level of maturity at an earlier stage, enabling engineers to carry out virtual validation early on in the development process – entirely without any physical prototypes and, as a result, without the expensive tools needed to produce them. In future, this will mean that IAV will be able to release the production tooling for its customers earlier than has previously been possible. This new approach will increase flexibility during the development process. Changes can be made to the concept or to components at any time on the digital models. With these new strategies, we will be in a position to allow for customer requests even better and meet them more effectively.

      Virtual Reality und Mixed Reality

      Within the scope of digitalization, Virtual Development and the worldwide pooling of development expertise, IAV is following its own roadmap for Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR), and applies it in the automotive industry’s worldwide development process. We already use an in-house network of VR rooms, and we are also planning to set up workplaces with VR/AR headsets, install international virtual rooms for shared use as well as provide the right hardware and software.

      Artificial Intelligence

      Engineering is being revolutionized by computers and algorithms

      In future, artificial intelligence (AI) will drastically change everyday work for many engineers, with learning algorithms and AI support taking less time to produce better solutions during the development phase. IAV is already using the advantages of this new technology in customer projects and is consistently expanding their application.

      Learning algorithms for better solutions

      In some areas, computers are simply superior to humans. For example, algorithms can automatically run through any number of variants and propose new potential solutions for selection by the engineer. The advantage: people make mistakes, a risk that is minimized by computers. In addition, artificial intelligence means that these systems are constantly learning and improving.

      IAV uses the advantages of such tools, including for example when designing and integrating components, calibrating control units and designing completely new components, from transmissions through to entire powertrains. Smart tools create valuable knowledge from many terabytes of measurements and other data, and the best solution is ascertained systematically from millions of configurations. Our engineers can use all this know-how and these algorithms for optimum decision-making processes.

      AI community: networking on all levels

      We have set up an AI community throughout the company so that IAV experts from all areas and fields can be involved in working with artificial intelligence. The community currently has 150 members and serves to pool expertise in the best possible away across all divisions. The experts in various fields work together online and meet in innovative forums for highly intensive, specific cooperation.

      These modern working methods include BarCamps, CrunchCamps and Hackathons. BarCamps have turned into a major milestone in IAV's history. They have supplied countless creative solutions for different problems arising in various areas which are meanwhile being put to direct use at IAV. Instead of stipulating specific topics, participants at these non-conferences come together under the motto "the participants define the contents".

      AI support for the development process

      Our vision is to establish AI support as a standard feature in the development process. To this end, we are currently accumulating excellence in all central AI disciplines to make our classic business more efficient and to open up new fields of business. Impressive showcases are available to demonstrate our AI expertise.

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