Bundled AI expertise at IAV – expert network AI circle

Artificial intelligence and data science are developing at breakneck speed and increasing complexity. IAV has set up the AI circle to keep abreast of the latest developments and pool its in-house expertise. It brings together AI experts from various fields – and the company’s concentrated expertise in customer projects.

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A network of experts instead of an army of lone fighters: That is the idea behind the AI circle. With it, IAV links and promotes the expertise of the colleagues in the company who work with Artificial Intelligence (AI). “This technology is so universal and at the same time so complex that it is not bundled in a single department but rather colleagues from all over the company deal with it,” says Christian März, Data Scientist in IAV’s Digital Lab, who is actively involved in shaping the AI circle as the person responsible for methods in data science and AI. Events and digital platforms are intended to promote the exchange between these employees. “In the AI circle, colleagues learn from each other and benefit from each other’s knowledge. They can also address their questions to an entire network of experts. We also hope that this will lead to an additional acceleration in projects and developments,” says März.

«We start with the idea in the employee's head and see ourselves as an incubator.»

Christian März — Data Scientist in IAV's Digital Lab

Digital lab as incubator

The project is driven by the in-house Digital Lab, which acts as a catalyst for digital projects as part of the company’s digitalization strategy. One of its most important instruments is the so-called innovation process. Selected ideas submitted by employees are given a jump start here: The lab with its permanent and more than 20 student employees takes over an initial start-up development; only then are the projects are handed over to a division. “We start with the idea in the employee’s head and see ourselves as an incubator. The AI circle should also function in this sense and also generate new projects that are suitable for the innovation process,” says März. The idea of an AI network within the company is not entirely new: A forerunner, the AI community, laid the foundations, and with the new AI circle concept, the idea of networking is now entering a new round – with a sharper profile. “We have now deliberately positioned ourselves even more technically and in terms of content.”

Learning with and from each other

For this purpose, the “Brown Bag Sessions” during the lunch break include internal topics related to AI on the agenda – projects, problems, experiences and questions. “Here, it is not about presenting oneself, but really about entering into a professional exchange, learning from and with each other,” says März. In the second format, the “AI Talks,” experts from renowned institutions such as the Fraunhofer Institute, DFKI or RWTH Aachen University regularly speak. Topics include the certification and safeguarding of neural networks, natural language processing, reinforcement learning or the question of how Machine Learning for time series can be successful – ergo: in addition to topics that are intended to provide food for thought, above all those that are relevant to the work and customers of IAV.

«When a customer works with one of our teams, they can be sure that they will have access to an IAV-spanning network of AI expertise.»

Christian März — Data Scientist in IAV's Digital Lab

The customer benefits

After all, it is the customers who benefit most from the AI circle. It is not only an instrument to stay on the ball in a rapidly growing field, but also an important building block to be able to offer the customer state-of-the-art technology at all times. “With the AI circle, we bring out the maximum of AI competence that IAV with its more than 8,000 employees has to offer for our customers. We bundle this expertise, make it broad-based and ensure that it filters back into customer projects,” says März. “When a customer works with one of our teams, they can be sure that they will have access to an IAV-spanning network of AI expertise.”

The article was published in automotion 03/2020, the automotive engineering magazine of IAV. Here you can order the automotion free of charge.

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