Challenge sought new ideas for auto production

June 23–Two startup companies will receive $50,000 apiece for winning a competition sponsored by Mercedes-Benz U.S. International.

Automap earned its cash prize for its plan help MBUSI enhance its on-site vehicle tracking systems for the hundreds of thousands of vehicles built each year, while Doks Innovation earned the money for creating a drone-based inventory tracking and recording system.

Both startups will have a chance to become suppliers for MBUSI or MBUSI’s parent company, Daimler AG, according to a Friday news release.

The two companies were among nine finalists that made presentations to a panel of judges on Tuesday at the Tuscaloosa County plant during the inuagural MBUSI Innovation Challenge. MBUSI received 29 submissions before the field was narrowed to nine.

The challenge, announced in April, was designed to engage the state’s thriving startup community to tackle challenges faced in automotive production.

Ideas presented by the nine finalists ranged from how to improve the lunch experience of MBUSI employees because of time constraints to how to better track vehicles in the parking lots to big data analytics.

“We purposefully left the challenges pretty vague, and the rest was up to the start-ups,” said Jason Hoff, president and CEO of MBUSI. “One of the things we wanted to get out of this was to see some of their out-of-the-box ideas that we wouldn’t traditionally do on our own. This was a new approach for us, and we appreciate everyone who pitched an idea. Unfortunately everyone couldn’t win, but we saw promising results.”

This article provided by NewsEdge.