Last week, we had the honor to participate in one of the nation’s most exciting competitions for innovation and industrial manufacturing - The MBUSI Innovation Challenge. This competition is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. (MBUSI) and encourages local startups and college students from Alabama and the whole of the United States to bring their A-game and revolutionize the way that Mercedes-Benz produces automobiles from inception to the streets. It all started when we heard about the competition in May, submitted our proposal and were selected as finalists to present a 3-minute pitch in front of a live audience, among them the lead innovators at Mercedes-Benz and a range of other industrial manufacturers
This competition invites startups to select and address one of the critical challenges that automotive manufacturers face at any stage of the production processes. This year, there were 8 challenges that participants could focus on that included production flow management, big data efficiencies, and digital communications using creative business strategy, software development, and technology solutions. We chose to participate in Challenge #4, Implement augmented reality solutions in key processes.
Mercedes-Benz’s Partner in the Innovation Challenge was Urban Engine, a non-profit organization that connects aspiring entrepreneurs and established business leaders with educational resources, talent, and community, and provide a platform for professional development unique to the state of Alabama. The Challenge was developed to inspire creativity within vehicle manufacturing and promote collaboration between the current- and next-generation startups and aspiring and professional problem-solvers to build innovative solutions with Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc.
Our CEO, Ash Eldritch and Head of Operations, Kristen Frick were our representatives for the event. They booked their tickets, packed their bags and headed to the airport late on June 18th. Once they touched down in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the challenge took place, they participated in a 3-minute pitch and a showcase where they were able to demonstrate how Vital Software works and how it will rejuvenate industrial innovation. It was a whirlwind of an event and Ash and Kristen were back in San Francisco by Thursday night.
Winners for the Challenge were selected this week and while we were not among the startups chosen, we were honored to be finalists in this groundbreaking competition. Congratulations to AutoMap, a car tracking system for dealerships and Doks. Innovation, an automated drone and smart sensor inventory management system, for winning the overall challenge! We are excited to continue working on Vital Enterprises Software to bring AR to industrial manufacturing and will see you somewhere along the production line in the near future.