ETAS Connections reaches next level

ETAS Connections reaches next level

The customer event was expanded to two days, featured content that was more diverse than ever, made an especially professional impression, and drew an international crowd for the first time.

Some 240 attendees, including guests from abroad, used ETAS Connections on November 27–28, 2017 at Böblingen’s Legendenhalle as an opportunity for professional exchange, networking, and to peer into the future. This year’s convention lasted a full two days and focused on artificial intelligence (AI). 

“We find ourselves regarding AI facing a paradigm change – not only technologically, but also socially,” said Friedhelm Pickhard, Chairman of the Board of Management of ETAS GmbH. “ETAS Connections is a platform for exploring future trends, which is why it is centered around a highly exhilarating development that has the potential to offer us many opportunities but also some risks.”

Artificial intelligence and big data as drivers of autonomous driving

Numerous high-profile speakers provided insights into the current state of artificial neural networks, also touching on machine learning and deep learning – in other words, how systems can learn and constantly enhance themselves through the proper deployment of big data. In the automotive industry, this potential is driven primarily by autonomous driving and the connectivity of vehicles with the Internet of Things (IoT). Keynote speakers included Simon Fürst from BMW, Dr. Oliver Sbanski from Bosch, and Dr. Jürgen Schmidhuber from Switzerland’s Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence IDSIA.

Intelligent robots in the near future?

Schmidhuber is scientific director at IDSIA and has been a key influencer in this field. His closing presentation on the first day of ETAS Connections underpinned his thesis that artificial intelligence is one of the most important topics of our time, and is already affecting us today or will do so in the near future. According to Schmidhuber, it will take relatively little time to develop artificial-intelligence systems compared to the biological evolution of the human brain. Schmidhuber believes that the near future will see intelligent robots on level with primates. Exactly what that future will look like and whether that future is how we’d like it to be was the subject of lively discussion among attendees during and after Schmidhuber’s presentation.

Cuban Night in Böblingen

The closing presentation provided plenty to talk about at the evening event: Cuban Night. This was an excellent opportunity for attendees to network while enjoying tasty food and live music. Some also opted for a glass of rum and a hand-rolled cigar.

Current solutions and opportunities in artificial intelligence

While the first day of ETAS Connections focused on the future, the second day’s presentations and discussions looked instead at how the solutions available today can succeed. In his keynote address, Dr. Donghee Han from Hyundai showed which innovations have improved the calibration of engines at Hyundai. Hans-Jürgen Kugler, chief scientist at Kugler Maag Cie, summarized in his closing presentation that humans, society, and technology should develop “hand-in-hand.” For that is how we can achieve the best results, Kugler added. He noted that we need to contemplate how to achieve collaboration between humans and machines in harmony with our value systems, and how to become cognizant of the resulting potential.

In short, ETAS Connections has advanced to the next level of professionalism and expertise, owing largely to the well-chosen main topic. And attendees voiced their appreciation of all this.