Dr Patrick Schmitt and his team ensure that the latest tools and working methods can be used in the development of software for the Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS) in the powertrain. In his interview, he tells us how his fascination for flying led to his dream job, and why he learns from his team every day.
Patrick, what do you do for MB.OS?
Together with my team, I am responsible for software integration, tools and quality. In a nutshell: We advise the teams that programme software relating to our drive systems on how they can optimise their processes with modern tools. In this way, we are clearly driving the shift towards agile development practices, continuous integration and DevOps (development and IT operations). I think this is very important if we want to live up to our claim of creating the leading vehicle software with MB.OS. For example, if we automate and standardise the testing of new codes, our teams can focus on developing creative ideas better.
How do you work with your team?
My colleagues have freedom of action and clear communication channels. I don`t run every project (laughs). My team colleagues come from the areas of mechatronics, natural sciences and IT. Everyone is highly motivated and has a hands-on mentality. That's what sets us apart. By the way, we maintain a very flexible working culture, everyone is largely free to decide where they work - either in the office or from home. And to make sure we don't miss out on the inter-personal side, we plan an event together every month, go out for lunch or have a gaming evening.
What makes MB.OS special for you?
With MB.OS, we are creating greater depth and speed of development. This also enables us to further develop the vehicle and its software as a unit. The exciting thing is that we are working with state-of-the-art technologies. I often have my staff familiarise me with a new project in more depth, so that I can stay technically up to date. I learn something new almost every day.
And how did you come to Mercedes-Benz?
Via a slight detour (laughs). As a teenager, I was fascinated by aeroplanes and flying. That's why I studied aerospace engineering in Stuttgart and later did my doctorate in aero and gas dynamics in Toulouse. During my studies, I realised that I was less interested in flying than in the technology behind it. When I came back from France after my doctorate, I applied for a trainee programme at Mercedes-Benz. The topics, and especially the human aspect here inspired me. I have made good friends in every department and team I've been in.
Dr Patrick Schmitt (45) initially studied aerospace engineering at the University of Stuttgart. During his Erasmus semester at the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace in Toulouse, France, the Ulm native got to know his doctoral supervisor and later completed his doctorate on the subject of aero and gas dynamics. Back in Germany, Patrick Schmitt joined Mercedes-Benz in a trainee programme and subsequently held various positions in powertrain development. Patrick Schmitt not only loves the challenge of providing state-of-the-art development tools, but also private challenges. He has crossed the Alps six times on his mountain bike.