Programming is like being an athlete.
Emir Aritürk is a professional when it comes to software development. Together with his co-workers in the User Interaction Software team, he is currently working to ensure that users of the next Mercedes-Benz S-Class can interact even better with their vehicle, and to make the cockpit an even more pleasant experience and environment. In his interview, Emir tells us why programming is like a professional sport, why in-vehicle software will be even more important in the future, and what he, as an engineer with Turkish roots, particularly appreciates about Germany as a technology center.
Mr. Aritürk, you are a very talented software engineer. What do you like about programming?
I was originally an electrical engineer, and during my degree I soon realized that programming is the best way to create something new and innovative. Software will become even more important in the future when it comes to making significant leaps in technology. This also applies to the development of new vehicles. The engine or battery output (for electric vehicles) is of course still very important. But there is also an increased focus on creating a pleasant environment for the vehicle's occupants. "User interaction software" plays an important role in this regard as the interface between man and machine.
You are currently working on the new S-Class, which is being launched onto the market in the fall. How do you work?
At the company, we take a multi-level approach to the development of user interaction software. We work on the programming of the corresponding parts. Our programming combines concept and design. We develop the user interaction software from scratch – from the front end (what the vehicle occupants will eventually see) to the back.
What is special about the user interaction for the new S-Class?
That's strictly confidential, of course (laughs). But what I can tell you is that we will work a lot with visual elements. The new, high-quality screens integrated into the cockpit will play an important role in this. The S-Class has always been the crown jewel for Mercedes-Benz. The new system will support vehicle occupants using artificial intelligence in the future. In short, it will be very cool.
Developing new vehicles is about creating pleasant environments. User interaction software plays an important role in this regard.
How does your team work together?
In my team, I work with nine co-workers, all of whom have a lot of experience in development. That makes it particularly enjoyable of course because I can always learn something new. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz quality standards also pose a challenge. The programming has to be just right in order to ensure that a vehicle's occupants have the perfect driving experience. We all need to keep on our toes in order to achieve this.
What do you mean by that?
Programming is like a professional sport, because regular training is hugely important. We incorporate the latest findings in the field of software development into the user interaction software. In order to work at this level we need to regularly bring ourselves up-to-date, including using reference texts.
You have Turkish roots, and you are familiar with both Germany and Turkey. What do you like about where you are right now?
Germany is known for its innovation. As an engineer, that is of course particularly appealing to me. During my degree I completed two internships here, one at KIT and one at the former Truck department in Untertürkheim, and I wrote my Bachelor's thesis in partnership with former Daimler AG. Back in Turkey I worked for the company in Istanbul. However, I kept being drawn back here, and I accepted a position in Development in Sindelfingen. I would like to gain international experience while I am still young. Mercedes-Benz gives me a lot of opportunities to do that.
Being 26 makes me one of the youngest members of the team, but I was given a lot of trust and responsibility right from the start.
You have been working for the User Interaction team for almost one and a half years. What were the first few months like for you?
We work on very challenging projects. My co-workers gave me a detailed induction, and explained everything to me. I was included in the processes from the get-go. That motivated me, and made it much easier to get started. Being 26 makes me one of the youngest members of the team, but I was given a lot of trust and responsibility right from the start.
Are you a fan of cars?
I have liked cars since I was a child, and Mercedes-Benz stands for innovation like no other company. My other passion is aircraft. Particularly the cockpit, with all of its systems and buttons (laughs). I also apply this fascination when I incorporate the latest technologies into the cockpit of the new S-Class.
What do you do when you are not programming?
I regularly do sport and play music in my spare time. I play guitar and sing, and I'm also relatively good at drums. I don't mind too much what kind of music it is either. I like everything except rap (laughs). I also enjoy developing software outside of work. Furthermore, I read reference books to find out about new software technologies – I taught myself most of what I know about programming.
Occupants of the new S-Class will be supported using artificial intelligence in the future. In short, it will just be very cool.
In 2019, when Emir Aritürk came to Sindelfingen to work as a software developer, he had already perfected his German language skills, having completed internships at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and at former Daimler in Untertürkheim during his degree. But he still needed to refresh his knowledge of the language (or dialect) in order to understand his co-workers' charming Swabian accents. When it comes to development, making himself understood using the programming languages Python and C++ was not a problem from day one.