Baden-Württemberg: A Center of Economic Excellence and AI Innovation
Nestled in the southwestern corner of Germany, Baden-Württemberg stands as a testament to economic prowess and technological innovation. Known for its picturesque landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and strong economic foundations, the state has become a hub for advanced industries, including Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Baden-Württemberg’s expenditure on research and development in relation to nominal gross domestic product is highest in Germany (5,8 % versus 3,2 % average), leading to the highest innovative strength of the federal states. It is home of 4 universities of excellence. Baden-Württemberg covers 15 % of national GDP (€501 billion GDP).
Baden-Württemberg boasts one of the strongest economies in Europe, making it a powerhouse within Germany. The state is home to globally renowned companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and SAP. Its economic success can be attributed to a diverse industrial base, including automotive manufacturing, engineering, and information technology. Products “Made in Baden-Württemberg” are in high demand worldwide and the country achieves above-average export revenues compared to other federal states. According to the State Statistical Office, 66 % of Baden-Württembergs exports go to European countries, 18 % to Asia and 13 % to the American region.
Recognizing the transformative potential of AI, Baden-Württemberg has strategically positioned itself as a leader in AI research and development. The state's universities and research institutions collaborate closely with industry partners to drive innovation and address complex challenges.
To catalyze the integration of AI and digital technologies into traditional industries, Baden-Württemberg is home of several digital innovation hubs. These hubs serve as collaborative spaces where businesses, researchers, and policymakers converge to explore and implement digital solutions.
In Baden-Württemberg the EDIH Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity (EDIH AICS) and EDIH Südwest are located. The EDIHs are supported with substantial funds by the state supporting the goal of a Europe-wide network for the transfer of digitalization, innovations, and skills. EDIH AICS provides support particularly in the areas of AI and cybersecurity for sustainable and digital transformation in the application areas of production, mobility, energy, trade services and public administration. EDIH Südwest covers, among other things, smart sensor systems with edge AI and the topic of resilience, especially for the areas of the automotive industry, health, production, and public administration.
Another notable example is the Cyber Valley initiative, a partnership between Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, the University of Tübingen, and the University of Stuttgart. This interdisciplinary research hub focuses on AI and robotics, promoting cutting-edge research and fostering collaboration between academia and industry.
With the SmartFactory BW initiative, focus is laid on the development and implementation of smart manufacturing solutions. This initiative promotes the integration of digital technologies into manufacturing processes and facilitates collaboration between industry and research.
To implement Industry 4.0 in small and medium enterprises the Alliance Industry 4.0 is supported by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economics. Here, competences from production, information and communication technology are bundled by enterprises, universities, associations, chambers and social partners.
The commitment to AI in Baden-Württemberg is underscored by significant investments and initiatives. The state government has allocated resources to support AI research projects, startups, and the development of AI applications across various sectors. To establish “AI – Made in Baden-Württemberg” the Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence was launched. It strengthens Baden-Württembergs standing as a location for AI and serves as an innovation center for AI-based products and services.
As a member of the Vanguard Initiative, Baden-Württemberg is part of a network of European regions that collaborate to strengthen the competitiveness of their local industries and promote innovation, focused on smart specialization, industrial modernization, and the development of key enabling technologies. Here, Basque Country and Baden-Württemberg lead an AI Pilot aiming at sustaining and stimulating the demonstration and deployment of AI Technologies to better equip European SMEs with future-ready tools and processes to benefit as main beneficiaries as well as technology providers.
Baden-Württemberg initiated an international alliance of leading AI regions from around the world. The AI Alliance aims at creating sustainable collaborations and investment opportunities through international networks. Seeing the strength that lies in cooperation, the AI Alliance is a network of strong partners advancing a state-of-the-art AI ecosystem.
Additionally, the integration of AI into education and workforce development programs ensures a pipeline of skilled professionals capable of driving innovation in the digital age. Baden-Württemberg's forward-thinking approach positions it as a model for other regions aspiring to harness the potential of AI.