Austria’s Virtual Vehicle Research Center team coming to Teesdorf

Dr Daniel Watzenig

In the last two weeks before the Self Driving Track Days event at OAMTC Teesdorf, near Vienna, Austria, we talked to Dr Daniel Watzenig, Head of the Electronic Engineering & Software department at the Virtual Vehicle Research Center in Austria.

Daniel is also Vice President of the Artemis Industrial Association, which supports organisations involved with Embedded Intelligent Systems across Europe.

Can you tell us more about the Virtual Vehicle Research Center?

 The Virtual Vehicle Research Center is an international platform for research and development in the automotive and rail industry, located in Graz, Austria.

Virtual Vehicle Research Centre (V2C2) is a large expert group leading multiple projects.

Virtual Vehicle addresses “smart mobility” and, in particular, the vehicles of tomorrow, which should be safe, environmentally-friendly and more and more connected with its surroundings, so cutting-edge research and technology development is essential, and simulation is a key opening completely new possibilities.

The research center provides a close linkage of numerical simulation and experimental validation, and offers comprehensive system simulation up to the complete vehicle.

Our network has over 80 international industry partners including leading OEM‘s, tier 1+2 suppliers and SW vendors, more than 40 scientific partner institutions worldwide and more than 200 employees.

The Virtual Vehicle Research Center is part of the Austrian COMET K2 Program, and the Center actively engages in numerous EU funded projects (27 ongoing, 20 competed projects) and offers a broad portfolio of commissioned research and services.

What can employers do to improve the quality of potential recruits?

There is a strong need for Software engineers and people who are able to work on AI-based solutions and fault-tolerant algorithms/systems.

Industry, especially in Europe, has to engage more with universities to help to educate the right competences

Brexit might be damaging for the Automotive industry in the UK – will you still work with UK companies afterwards?

Yes, we have a long history with British partners (academia and industry). We do not expect that the Brexit will influence that. Let’s see what the ongoing negotiations (EC and UK) will result in.

I am still confident that we will see a positive outcome.

ALP.lab is a project led by a research consortium of Austria’s leading autonomous vehicle organisations: AVL, Magna, TU Graz, Virtual Vehicle Research Center and Joanneum Research

What do you think about the Self Driving Track Days project – is community outreach important?

Yes, Austria is catching up. The newly created public test region “ALP.Lab” (highway, city of Graz, rural roads) and the upcoming one “DigiTrans” (trucks, intermodal traffic) clearly show that.

Having more and more demonstration activities in Austria will certainly improve our visibility.

There has been lots of news about driverless cars recently – are there any business opportunities left?

When ever it comes to Software, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Testing… Europe might be too conservative, however, most European OEMs and Tier 1 have locations in the San Francisco Bay area in California.

The Virtual Vehicle Research Center team will be running an autonomous vehicle demonstrator (on-track) at the event, as well as looking in on some of the workshops.

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