Harald Kroeger will lead SiMa.ai’s automotive division, which will be based in Stuttgart.
Harald Kroeger, a former top executive at Bosch and Daimler, is joining the artificial intelligence company SiMa.ai as head of its automotive division.
Kroeger will also be a member of the supervisory board at SiMa.ai, which was founded in 2018 and is based in California. He will be overseeing the opening of a new office in Stuttgart.
Kroeger, who left Bosch at the end of 2021, is also a board member at EV maker Rivian. He starts at SiMa.ai on Jan. 1.
SiMa.ai has about 150 employees in California and Bengalaru, India. The company has developed the MLSoC (short for machine learning system-on-chip) chip platform to enable machine learning for applications that include autonomous driving, robotics and industry, and health care.
The company says the platform can achieve 10 times better performance in processing camera images with “significantly reduced power consumption compared to conventional AI chips.”
In an interview Wednesday with Automotive News Europe, Kroeger said SiMa.ai’s platform — which includes the chip and software — has the potential to make Level 3 driving assistance available to many more buyers, and could lead to significant range savings in electric vehicles. SiMa.ai is focusing on Level 2 Plus and Level 3 driving assitance rather than higher levels of autonomy, he said.
The only cars currently certified in Europe to operate at Level 3 (meaning the driver is free to do other things but needs to be prepared to retake control) are two premium models, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS.
“Today’s machine learning and AI equipment is just bad for the car,” Kroeger said, clarifying that current Level 2 Plus and Level 3 systems mostly use classical computing algorithms rather than AI and machine learning ones. “You don’t want to have chips with a heat dissipation that is measured in kilowatts. You’re wasting so much energy, and in electric vehicles you’re eating away at your range.”
SiMa.ai’s chip and software are purpose-designed for driving assistance, he said. “You can’t use it to mine bitcoins, but it’s perfect for computer vision algorithms based on machine learning, or any other edge device where you need computing power, but you want it in the device and not in the cloud.”
Another advantage SiMa.ai’s system has is that it can automatically generate machine code for different computer languages, rather than having to hand-code for changes, a process that can take months, Kroeger said.
The chips will be built by TSMC, he said. The current process node size is 16 nanometers, but the next generation, due next year, will be 6 nm.
SiMa.ai has several customers already, including a German robotics company and a U.S.-based drone maker. Kroeger’s task will be signing up Tier 1 suppliers, and potentially automakers.
“Our potential partners are all the Tier 1s,” he said. “They all have the same challenge, which is how to get to the next level on ADAS without burning too much energy.”
Kroeger said Stuttgart is an ideal location for SiMa.ai’s automotive push. “It’s the home of so many good automotive engineers, so that makes it easy for me to get the team together.”
In his position as a member of the management board at Bosch, Kroeger was responsible for systems integration in the Mobility Solutions business sector.
Kroeger joined the management board in 2019. The native of Muenster, Germany, holds degrees in engineering and economics from the University of Leinster and Stanford. He started at Daimler in 1994 and for the next 23 years held a variety of positions at the company as well as and the Mercedes-Benz brand, becoming head of development for electrics/electronics and electrical powertrains in 2013. He joined Bosch as president of the automotive electronics division in 2017.
He was named an Automotive News Europe Eurostar in 2020 for Supplier Division Head.
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