Knowledge Transfer Flourishes at the School of Engineering in Partnership with BMW Group and Idealworks

Engineering students, faculty and alumni learn from the latest edition of the Vision Intelligence and Robotics Applications workshop.

By Raissa Batakji

Dr. Khoury (L) hoped that the workshop would inspire more students to pursue such rewarding opportunities.
Dr. Imgrund shared valuable insights on the sustainability challenges within the automotive industry.
One of the engineering students shares her internship experience with her peers.

In partnership with BMW Group and Idealworks, the LAU School of Engineering (SOE) hosted the fifth edition of the Vision Intelligence and Robotics Applications (VIRA) workshop on March 27 on the Byblos campus.

Industry experts, as well as former and current LAU interns at BMW and Idealworks – which is wholly owned by BMW Group – presented their projects and shared the latest knowledge in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics within the automotive manufacturing field.

In his welcome address, SOE Dean Michel Khoury underscored the importance of knowledge transfer between a global leader in the industry – BMW Group – and LAU as part of their ongoing partnership. “VIRA offers a crucial platform for our student interns to discuss their learnings with peers, and hopefully inspire more students to pursue such rewarding opportunities,” said Dr. Khoury.

Chief Technology Officer of Idealworks Jimmy Nassif, who had been key in establishing the partnership between LAU and BMW Group, expressed his delight with the progress of the collaboration. He thanked the university for continuing to host this workshop and looked forward to building on the partnership in the coming years.

“This workshop is a testament to the success of the internship program with your university,” added Head of the BMW Tech Office Marc Kamradt, pointing out that many LAU students have had successful experiences and went on to work full-time at BMW Group.

In fact, “a significant portion of the technical team at Idealworks is made up of Lebanese students who are interning here,” noted Dr. Nassif.

The workshop featured a keynote lecture by Dr. Christian Imgrund, who is the founder of Imgrund Consulting and Engineering. He shared valuable insights on the sustainability challenges within the automotive industry.

A handful of current engineering students and alumni presented their projects, reflecting on their internship experiences. They fielded questions from younger students eager to apply for similar training opportunities.

In that regard, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering Joe Tekli announced the launching of the InMind Academy in March 2023 as a central hub to streamline the internship program. “We are collaborating with other universities in Lebanon to allow excelling students to benefit from applied training and talent-mining opportunities,” said Dr. Tekli.

“These experiences are far from the traditionally presumed expectation that interns are recruited to do the dull work. These highly competitive positions offer companies a pool of talents to conduct research and development, so our students will be actively contributing to the latest engineering breakthroughs,” he added.