Press Release

March 8, 2023

Formation of new "Volkswagen Financial Services Data Analytics Research Center" (VWFS DARC) – University of Hildesheim and Volkswagen Financial Services sign cooperation agreement

Research budget of around six million euros

Research covers "Advanced Machine Learning" and "Trustworthy AI"

Goal: More effective embedding of artificial intelligence in VWFS business processes

Data and technology seen as mainstays of VWFS business success

Braunschweig/Hildesheim, 8 March 2023. Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) and the University of Hildesheim Foundation have entered into a cooperation agreement regarding the development of artificial intelligence. For this purpose, the University of Hildesheim is setting up the new "Volkswagen Financial Services Data Analytics Research Center" (VWFS DARC). With a budget of around six million euros, eight doctoral students and two post-docs led by Prof. Dr. Dr. Lars Schmidt-Thieme will immediately start exploring new AI methods and AI technologies in the fields of "Advanced Machine Learning" and "Trustworthy AI". The fruits of the cooperation, which is initially scheduled for five years, will later find application in the digital business processes of VWFS. High-quality customer data and their processing are elementary components of the VWFS strategy MOBILITY2030 and are cornerstones of the company's success. A further aim is to promote the transfer of knowledge between the university and the company in the study courses Data Analytics, Applied Informatics and Business Informatics as well to intensify contacts between Europe's largest automotive financial services provider and the students and graduates of the university. In addition to the President of the University of Hildesheim, Prof. Dr. May-Britt Kallenrode, and VWFS Management Board Chairman Dr. Christian Dahlheim, Falko Mohrs, Lower Saxony State Minister for Science and Culture, was also present at the signing ceremony.

"I am convinced that the transfer between science and industry works really well when both sides benefit from it and conduct research together from the start. This is the case here," said Lower Saxony's Science Minister Falko Mohrs. He explained: "Not only does VWFS benefit from the research findings, the University of Hildesheim also has exclusive access to 'use cases', to real applications, through this agreement. This is a great example of how cooperation between science and industry grows and endures through its success. I would like to see many more examples of this throughout the state."

"It is great for our university and for the Institute of Computer Science to continue the cooperation with Volkswagen Financial Services – a cooperation that has already been successful in previous projects – by means of the joint research center "Data Analytics (VWFS DARC)", stressed Prof. Dr. May-Britt Kallenrode, President of the University of Hildesheim. She added: "The promotion of knowledge transfer through the exchange between researchers and practical experts is not only our task and "Third Mission" as a university, but also a great opportunity. The projects generate research results and students in the computer science study programs can be specifically involved in them in keeping with the philosophy of practice-related and research-oriented teaching."

Dr. Christian Dahlheim, Chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen Financial Services AG, stated: "We are pleased that we are taking the existing successful cooperation with the University of Hildesheim to a new level by establishing the DARC. The research results from the VWFS DARC will provide us with state-of-the-art AI solutions, in vehicle and customer analytics, for example, but also in risk management too, and this will enable us to further develop our business for the benefit of our customers."

Concrete use cases for the business processes at VWFS arise, for example, in the prediction of vehicle prices and residual values, in supply management in vehicle sales, or in fraud detection and prevention.

f.l.t.r.: Falko Mohrs (Lower Saxony State Minister for Science and Culture), Prof. Dr. May-Britt Kallenrode (President of the University of Hildesheim), Dr. Christian Dahlheim (Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen Financial Services AG), Prof. Dr. Dr. Lars Schmidt-Thieme (Prof. for computer science / University of Hildesheim)

Information for editors

Volkswagen Financial Services are a business division of the Volkswagen AG group of companies and comprise Volkswagen Financial Services AG along with its associated companies, Volkswagen Bank GmbH, Porsche Financial Services, and the financial services companies in the USA and Canada that belong directly or indirectly to Volkswagen AG – with the exception of the financial service business of the Scania brand and of Porsche Holding Salzburg. The key business fields embrace dealer and customer financing, leasing, bank and insurance activities, fleet management and mobility services. Volkswagen Financial Services have a total of 16,849 employees worldwide – including 7,570 alone in Germany. Volkswagen Financial Services report total assets of around EUR 235.6 billion, an operating result of EUR 5.67 billion, and a portfolio of around 22.0 million current contracts (as at: 31.12.2021).

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