Oliver Bleisinger

Who are you and what do you do? Who are your partners?
I am Oliver Bleisinger and I am an automotive engineer with a strong IT background. I work at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (Fraunhofer IESE), where I have the position of a Researcher and Business Area Manager at the same time. I advance topics in the field of AI-based simulation using IT tools and methods for virtual development and validation of autonomous driving functions. My industry partner is the IAV GmbH with its location in Chemnitz. My mentor at IAV focuses on control engineering for autonomous driving.

When did you join the Software Campus and why are you in the program?
I joined this year (September 2020). I applied with the motivation to find a concrete use case for my doctoral topic in the automotive sector and to get an evaluation of my results with regard to industrial application. I am also very interested in learning about project management and leadership from an industrial point of view.

What is the content of your IT project and how could it be applied in the future?
In the best case, i.e. extreme success of the SWC project and further activities, a near-series application of my results would be possible. This would contribute to the success of autonomous driving, i.e. concrete scientific findings could accelerate the virtual development and evaluation of advanced controllers for autonomous driving by means of methods and IT tools. One of the challenges of autonomous driving lies in the automation of the control (e.g. steering) of the vehicle.

Have you been particularly impressed by a personality from computer science or management?
Yes, it is my mentor and doctoral supervisor, Prof. Martin Eigner, who has inspired me most since the first semesters of my studies. His career began as a simple toolmaker, continued with mechanical engineering studies and ended with a doctorate in computer science and the subsequent founding of a company. His initially small company quickly grew into a medium-sized company with 200-300 employees, who put his original research results into practice. With his company and his management skills, he has influenced a complete branch of industry of IT systems. What impresses me the most is that he has done all this independently and initially based on his training as a simple toolmaker, which showed me that you can achieve quite a lot with ambition and innovative ideas.

In your opinion, what skills do top executives need to have today in order to be successful?
Managers should – at least for their working environment – remain as approachable and addressable as possible. My thesis: Employees support managers who are approachable as well as trustworthy and binding more strongly by cultivating a different error culture. Errors are pointed out and seen as an opportunity for improvement in the future. Such an error culture is not about blame, but about the lessons that can be learned from them and that leads to progress. From my point of view, one condition for this is that managers are persons of trust so that they can point out possible solutions or offer support at an early stage – in today’s world, managers should also be service providers, a spokesperson and mentor for their employees without neglecting their disciplinary responsibility.

What has been the biggest challenge you have had to face in your IT career so far?
This was actually not a technical challenge. My biggest challenge in IT projects was to convince different people (including my superiors) of my ideas and to inspire them. For a project to succeed, it is critical to have the necessary resources (monetary and human). Especially in IT, the difficulty arises that demonstrators/prototypes are usually not available at all or only virtually (i.e. as code or IT tools), so that one’s own powers of persuasion become a major factor in acquiring resources. In addition, there is a certain shortage of skilled workers, which further reduces human resources. As a career starter, I had to win the trust of my superiors and industry partners in the first three months in order to be able to successfully launch an IT project.

What is your heart beating for – besides job and Software Campus?
I generally like to inspire people, whether on the job or privately – either through technical solutions, inspiring discussions or innovative ideas. In my spare time, I am interested in innovations in computer hardware and I like to think about strategies in multiplayer online games. I also like to try foods from kitchens of other countries.