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2021-03-04
Annabelle Theobald

CISPA spin-off ELEXIR wins start-up competition Saarland Accelerator

Main prize for the team around former CISPA faculty member Stefan Nürnberger

With its idea of a completely digitally equipped vehicle, the Saarbrücken-based start-up ELEXIR has won first place at the Saarland Accelerator. In the intensive program financed by the Saarland Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labor, Energy, and Transport, particularly promising Saarland start-up teams have been working on their business ideas over the past three months.

The ELEXIR team, led by computer scientists Stefan Nürnberger and Sebastian Leber, is developing a vehicle that is built completely differently than the current state of the art. Today's cars are only slightly adaptable to the needs of the individual driver after purchase. ELEXIR's completely software-driven approach, on the other hand, allows cars to subsequently participate in new inventions such as assistance systems or autonomous driving at any time. Similar to smartphones, the hardware, i.e. the electronics and sheet metal, should hardly differ from car to car. The benefit lies in the apps installed in the car, such as a lane departure warning system or even a pleasing lamp design via a software update. Whether the car offers heated seats or cruise control will be decided in the future by the user's own cloud profile.

The guarantee of IT security is one of the most important prerequisites for bringing the idea to market. In addition to Stefan Nürnberger, former faculty at CISPA and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the rest of the team also brings considerable expertise in this regard. Sebastian Leber previously worked at the Saarbrücken IT incubator and has already developed digitalization strategies for automotive manufacturers. He was so convinced by the ELEXIR idea that he joined the startup full-time in March. Nürnberger worked closely with computer scientists Daniel Frassinelli and Soheyon Park at CISPA before. Park also previously worked for four years as a network security specialist at car manufacturer Hyundai.

A total of nine teams of founders presented their work to a jury on March 4 at Demo Day, the training's final event. The CISPA spin-off ELEXIR came out on top and received the main prize of 4,000 euros, as reported by the Saarland Ministry of Economics.

The text was translated by: Oliver Schedler