Tina Kirschner works in the Driver Assistance Systems Development department. In the interview, she talks about her particular fascination for autonomous driving and what it takes to work in her unit.
Hello Ms. Kirschner. Please introduce yourself briefly to the readers.
My name is Tina Kirschner, I studied Engineering Cybernetics in Stuttgart, and I have been working as an engineer in assistance systems development at Mercedes-Benz for five years. I am currently working on systems design for highly automated driving in the Driver Assistance Systems Development department.
Why did you choose Daimler as your employer?
I wanted to work for a company where I could shape the future and whose products I could get enthusiastic about. There was just one name at the top of my list - Daimler.
What was your previous experience at Daimler – starting from your first day in the company until today?
I joined in 2011 via the Daimler Women Days. At the time I worked on topics including functional safety, ratings for active safety and communication regarding driver assistance systems. During this time I also had the opportunity to demonstrate the assistance systems in the new S-Class at the 2013 press driving demonstration in Toronto. That was one of the highlights of my first two years at Daimler!
After two years I transferred to assistance systems development. There I worked on the development of the Active Brake Assist system for crossing traffic, which first went into series production in the new E-Class. I have been working on systems development for highly automated driving since the fall of 2015.
Please tell us a bit more about your team and your work. What is your typical work routine like?
Our job is to completely think through the driver assistance systems that we want to offer our customers. We have to precisely define how the system should behave in every situation on the road, and derive the specifications for the individual function modules on that basis. We then pass these specifications on to our colleagues who implement them all as software.
Each person in our team is responsible for certain parts of the overall system. All of the parts have to work together. This means that we have to work together closely at all times.
What fascinates you about autonomous driving?
We have an opportunity to contribute to something entirely new. Highly automated driving was still a dream just a few years ago, and today we are trying to find the answers to questions that no-one has ever answered. This is a fantastic challenge.
At the same time, we must never lose sight of the responsibility associated with autonomous driving. The opportunities and risks are very closely intertwined. That is why we are not only looking into the technical implementation, but also the framework conditions in terms of the law and product liability.
What sort of background should one have in order to work in your unit?
Anyone who works with us should enjoy working on new topics and systematically resolving any obstacles that arise. We are looking for communicative team players who want to take on responsibility and never lose sight of the bigger picture despite a large number of small details. We need employees who relish this kind of challenge.