A Ford Cooperation Turned Successful Spin-off
Today, embedded systems – computer chips controlling other electronic or mechanical devices – run every part of our daily lives. We as customers rely on these systems being thoroughly tested and approved – no matter if we are boarding a plane, driving a car, or using any other industrial product. For engineers and developers, ensuring product safety is a challenging task, made more difficult by a wide range of factors such as increasing product complexity, fast-paced markets, varying customer demands, and globally distributed component suppliers with independent supply chains. All of which can become obstacles in the development process and cause quality issues and delays along the way. What designers need is a tool to ensure safety from the first steps of prototyping and development all the way to the finished product.
Mindmotiv provides exactly that. In creating the world’s first fully integrated, collaborative quality assurance cloud, Mindmotiv aims to provide embedded systems developers, manufacturers and users of smart devices in automotive, aerospace and industrial automation with the tooling, knowledge and support to make embedded development and testing easier, faster and more comprehensive and ultimately change the way we develop the interconnected systems of the future entirely.
Mindmotiv’s ambitious goal to change embedded systems development as we know it is no coincidence; the spin-off’s story itself is already pioneering in many ways. Founded in early 2019, Mindmotiv is the first spin-off emerging from the Ford RWTH Research Alliance. Upon joining the Alliance program in 2013, RWTH Aachen University became the first German university in a small circle of renowned universities collaborating with Ford alongside the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Michigan, and Stanford University. In the context of the Ford RWTH Research Alliance, RWTH Innovation has been responsible for key account management for the cooperation between Ford and RWTH Aachen University since 2013. Preceding the foundation of the Ford RWTH Research Alliance were years of successful cooperation in research projects between the Chair of Embedded Software held by Prof. Stefan Kowalewski and the Ford Research and Innovation Center (RIC) Aachen. At the RIC, Mindmotiv was provided with the infrastructure and industry expertise to continuously test and improve their results. Soon, the research project took shape in the form of an extensively tested, fully-fledged technology.
Initiated as a joint project on the improvement of testing processes of functional models for embedded software in the automotive sector in 2013, the founding team of Mindmotiv, consisting of Norbert Wiechowski, Philip Mayer, Norman Hansen and Dr. Florian Göbe, received the prestigious EXIST Transfer of Research grant, a state fund created to seed start-up ventures based on high-risk, high-reward R&D ideas, in 2017 to turn their research into a marketable product by creating “Arttest”. Furthermore, the team was invited by Ford to present their results at the corporate headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. Quickly gaining notice at home as well, Mindmotiv was awarded the RWTH Spin-off Award in 2019 and won the AC² start-up competition in 2020, beating over 100 other high-tech start-ups in the region.
The inspiring evolution of Mindmotiv – from research idea to promising spin-off – is a bright example of the fruitful liaison between excellent research and entrepreneurial spirit on the one hand and direct access to industry resources and first-hand support by industry partners on the other. We are proud to see the successful outcome and the huge potential of our Ford RWTH Research Alliance and wish Mindmotiv all the best for the future.