Chief Technology Officer
Board Member for Development and Procurement; CTO, Mercedes-Benz
TITLE: Board Member for Development and Procurement; Chief Technology Officer
COMPANY: Mercedes-Benz Group
BASED: Stuttgart, Germany
Markus Schaefer, a native of Weidenau, Germany, holds a master’s degree in engineering from the Technical University in Darmstadt. He joined Daimler-Benz, as it was known, as a trainee in 1990. He then became a production engineer in 1991 and then a cost controller, paint shop, in 1993. Schaefer then held several positions in product planning until 1997, when he became project and plant manager for the CKD factory in Egypt, a joint venture. Schaefer moved to the U.S. in 2002 as director of engineering in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In 2010 he was named President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Tuscaloosa. He became vice president manufacturing engineering for Mercedes passenger cars in 2013, and in 2019 became a member of the board of management for group research and cars development. In 2021 he was named chief technology officer.
REASONS FOR WINNING
Mercedes-Benz has long been a leader in comfort and luxury in the premium segment, but it also aiming to be a technology pioneer. Under Schaefer’s guidance, Mercedes has become the first brand to receive certification to operate a so-called Level 3 autonomous driving system on European and U.S. roads. Mercedes cars with the Drive Pilot option allow the driver to focus on other activities, such as entertainment or checking their e-mail, while the car drives itself in certain conditions.
Drive Pilot and other driver- and passenger-centric functions operate within MBUX, Mercedes-Benz’s infotainment system, now in its third generation in E-Class and S-Class models, as well as the full-electric EQE and EQS vehicles. MBUX is perhaps best known for its near-seamless display that wraps the full width of the dashboard, offering an entertainment screen for passengers. The latest MBUX uses artificial intelligence to deliver greater personalization by learning the driver's frequently used comfort settings and enabling programmable routines, Mercedes said. MBUX integrates with the Android operating systems and allows the installation of third-party apps such as TikTok, Zoom and Webex. An optional onboard selfie and video camera can also be used for conference calls.