The center will be located in Saarbrücken (Germany), where DFKI already has a branch; in addition, the University of Saarbrücken enjoys an excellent reputation in terms of cyber security. ZF will work closely with DFKI and the Helmholtz Centre for Information Security (CISPA). At the same time, ZF will join the circle of currently 27 DFKI shareholders.
With this measure, ZF is expanding its international research and development network, which also includes partnerships with other companies. For example, ZF has access to AI expertise and specialized development resources through existing partnerships with Nvidia, Microsoft, Intel Mobileye, and the participation in the development service provider ASAP. The company plans to establish about two thirds of its AI specialists at the new location in Saarbrücken. Another third of the experts at the new technology center will focus on cybersecurity.
The new center will also complement the more than 300 ZF experts already developing solutions in the areas of artificial intelligence, industry 4.0 and cybersecurity and use them in products and services at the company’s headquarters for research and development in Friedrichshafen and other locations in Germany and abroad. In the future, all these activities will be consolidated in the joint ZF AI & Cybersecurity Center and – supplemented by the latest research and development results – made available to all ZF divisions worldwide. The goal is a common global AI platform for the optimization of existing or the development of new applications, products, services, services, and processes.
The choice of these two research institutes – DFKI under the direction of Prof. Dr. Jana Koehler and CISPA with Prof. Michael Backes as director – has another reason: When using AI, especially in road traffic, ZF not only sees the need to ensure the safety of road users, but also to maximum data protection and IT security. The company’s own cybersecurity experts will therefore work with CISPA to secure new AI developments and algorithms against cyber attacks on the way to series production.
The AI & Cybersecurity Center will focus on automotive-related technologies in the first place. However, the researchers will also deal with related topics, such as predictive maintenance for wind turbines or machine learning in product development and manufacturing.