Two startups will receive $50,000 after their pitches in the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Innovation Challenge on Tuesday. The event pitted nine companies putting forward ideas through the ideation accelerator known as Urban Engine, and - get this! - the purpose was to improve efficiency at Mercedes-Benz's Vance manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Automap LLP (pictured left), which pitched an idea to improve Mercedes' on-site vehicle tracking systems for the hundreds of thousands of vehicles built each year at the plant.
doks Innovation GMBH, LLC (pictured right), a German company, for a drone-based inventory tracking and recording system.
The two companies also will get a shot at supplying for Mercedes-Benz and its parent company, Daimler.
In April, MBUSI, partnering with Urban Engine, Startup Autobahn and The University of Alabama, announced the challenge, aiming for solutions using business strategies, software development and technology.
More than 100 individuals registered and 29 submissions were made. A panel of judges reviewed the pitches in an event Tuesday at Vance. MBUSI initially planned to award up to $50,000, but the decision was made to recognize two groups and award $100,000 after seeing the presentations.