Startups Pitch Their Ideas to the 2018 MBUSI Innovation Challenge!

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Mercedes-Benz opened its doors to firms from around the world to dream up solutions to challenges on the factory floor. After qualifying their ideas with Urban Engine, engineers and innovators came back to pitch and validate their own ideas during the MBUSI Innovation Challenge Competition!

MBUSI President Jason Hoff said the company decided to take a different approach this time in tackling problem areas around the plant. The idea was to turn lose minds that aren't normally engaged in automotive manufacturing and see what happened.

"This year, (the IT department) came forward and said there's a lot of great companies out there with really cool ideas. Let's present our challenges and see what comes back. It's a new approach for us," Hoff said. "We purposely left the challenges pretty vague and the rest is up to them."

  • Drones that inventory.

  • Augmented reality glasses giving instructions to workers.

  • Artificial intelligence solutions.

  • More efficient lunch breaks.

It was a unique opportunity, said Rahul Chipalkatty, the founder and CEO of Southie, a Boston-based company. Southie came with a pitch on how to deploy robots in logistics centers for smaller, more specialized tasks that may be needed for short periods of time.

Those are a few of the ideas pitched tonight at Mercedes-Benz's Innovation Challenge, a startup competition staged this evening at the Vance plant's training center. Teams were split into startup companies and student & professional groups. Cash prizes will be awarded to winners of the challenge.

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