Google to invest in science “made in Germany”

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Google signed a master agreement today for joint research projects. A key aspect of these activities will be artificial intelligence, including the promotion of innovation. UnternehmerTUM, Center for Innovation and Business Creation at TUM and Germany’s leading start-up incubator, recently launched the “AppliedAI Initiative” to support founders and companies in developing and especially applying artificial intelligence. Google will invest an additional amount of around 250,000 euros in this initiative over the next three years through its Munich office in the form of direct funding, material resources and personnel.

“Automation and robotics are key elements of the fourth industrial revolution that we are currently experiencing through advances in artificial intelligence. The concept of Industry 4.0 was developed here in Germany, the home country of all industries. We’re delighted with the opportunity to work in this important area in our partnership with TUM and UnternehmerTUM,” said Eric Schmidt, the long-serving Executive Chairman and Technical Advisor of Alphabet Inc.

Schmidt, who was in Munich to announce the new partnership, joined TUM President Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann in addressing around 1,000 students at the “TUM Speakers Series” as a side-event of the Munich Security Conference. The former Google CEO gave a talk on technology and innovation and afterwards engaged in discussions with students.

“Robotics and artificial intelligence will fundamentally transform all aspects of our lives,” said Prof. Herrmann. “Our mission as a university is to think far into the future and to shape technological change so that it serves the common good. We are therefore delighted that we will be working together with one of the world’s most innovative and visionary companies. The demonstration of trust by Google in the form of substantial funding for young scientists is an excellent start to this partnership.”

With its University Foundation, established in 2010, TUM is a trailblazer in endowment fundraising among German universities. Around 120 companies and individuals have contributed to the endowment, which currently amounts to approximately 42 million euros. The proceeds serve in particular to foster outstanding talent at the university.

With TUM and Google, the up-and-coming Isar Valley is teaming up with one of the top companies from Silicon Valley. The arrangement will bring together two partners already known for excellent research in artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as robotics. TUM has an international reputation for the close and intelligent networking of engineering with the natural sciences and medicine as well as social sciences. A new interdisciplinary research center is currently being established with the Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence, headed by Prof. Sami Haddadin, who recently won the German President’s Award for Innovation in Science and Technology. TUM’s other major strength is the conversion of research into market-ready innovations. Every year TUM spawns more than 70 spinoff companies.

Among Google’s German locations, Munich is second only to Hamburg. The company has its own office in the Bavarian capital since 2006. A new development center, which opened in 2016, already has more than 500 employees. Its main activities include the development of software products for data protection, data security and cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI). TUM and Google have been engaged in other cooperative activities for years. In the field of augmented reality, for example, a joint team developed ScanComplete, a method for the automatic completion and semantic analysis of 3D scans of enclosed spaces

The whole speech can be found here.


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