Dresden and Saxony in the media: When the own university gets negative associated

It was a creeping process. It started approximately when I left Dresden for the first time to do my internship in the south of Germany. During my subsequent semester abroad in Loughborough (UK), I began to realize that this process is not only taking place in Germany, but also on a global scale.

By “process” I mean in this context the ever stronger association of Dresden with Pegida and of Saxony with right-wing extremism.

When I returned from my semester abroad, intimidated by the media coverage, I was unsure exactly what to expect. In fact, however, I quickly realized that not much had changed in my self-created “bubble” of university and various volunteer activities. The only changes worth mentioning in my immediate everyday life were the numerous calls for “counter-demonstrations”. Otherwise “Business as usual” was the rule.

During my MBA in Paris and Frankfurt, however, I was able to gain for the first time very emphatic experiences regarding the external perception of Saxony / Dresden. Because with the majority of my new acquaintances I could count on being confronted with questions about Pegida and right-wing extremism immediately after my self-imagination. In some conversations I almost had the impression that I had to justify myself for my place of study and thus also for my choice of university – especially since I was not originally born in Saxony. This development reached its climax when I recommended a fellow student from Paris, who is a Muslim and has a slightly Mediterranean skin tone, to visit Dresden during his holiday in Germany. Since it did not take long before other fellow students pointed out to me that this could be too dangerous for him. Until then, I was not aware that a stay in Dresden could apparently be classified as life-threatening.

Since I could not and still cannot estimate how these very drastic views about my new homeland could come about in detail, I therefore visited a Fishbowl discussion on the topic “Dresden and Saxony in the media” this Monday. All in all I had the impression that even the representatives of Deutschlandfunk and ZEIT did not have a really clear explanation for this phenomenon. Therefore, I would like to go here only into one insight gained by me during the discussion: Apparently errors were committed on all sides – both with the politics, and the media and the consumers/us all. For the latter, it was never as easy as it is today to help shape the external image of Saxony and Dresden with their own means. All you need is an internet connection.

Therefore I would like to point out in the next months in different posts, what makes Dresden so worth living, why the Technische Universität Dresden is an outstanding Alma Mater and that Dresden has to offer more than Pegida and right-wing extremism.

SePIA: A scenario-based platform for the inspection of automated driving functions

As part of my work at the Chair of Automotive Engineering at TU Dresden, I am involved in several projects dealing with the assessment of highly automated driving functions. One of these is SePIA (scenario-based platform for the inspection of automated driving functions), which is funded by the European Union and in which a large number of Saxon project partners are on board.

The background of SePIA is, that vehicles with automated driving functions have to reach at least the driving abilities of an attentive human driver – and this over their entire lifetime. The main objective of SePIA is therefore to create a scenario platform with real driving scenarios derived from accident databases, accident reconstructions and Naturalistic Driving Studies (NDS). With the help of the platform, highly automated driving functions can then be assessed with regard to their functionality both during development and, for example, during a later general inspection. A special feature here is, that the scenarios presented should also be assessed with regard to their (objective) criticality and their representativeness for other regions / countries.

My field of application now lies primarily in the representativeness check. Together with the traffic accident research at the TU Dresden we want to develop a methodology with which we can determine the validity of the platform / the scenario catalogue for other areas and countries – a not trivial undertaking, since in the platform samples / data from most different surveys are brought together.

“Fantasy and reality do not catch up.” (Manfred Hinrich, german philosopher)

Before my first day at the Chair of Automotive Engineering (LKT), I often thought about what my future activities would look like, what I could expect and how much I would like to work at the LKT.

After two weeks I can now say:

My fantasies and reality don’t match – and that’s a good thing!
Even though my ideas were already extremely positive, I am all the more pleased to have been received so warmly and to be given the opportunity from day one to immerse myself in completely new and exciting areas!
Since the beginning of October, I have been working on finally getting to know object-oriented programming (C++) and to penetrate the infinite depths of GitHub.
What I could never have imagined during my studies – to program myself one day – has now become reality.

Even though I still have a lot of respect for the new tasks and challenges as well as fight with one or the other line of code much longer than planned, I am looking forward to the next weeks.

So that fantasy and reality may never catch up 🙂

A blog for everything that matters for me

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about which topic I want to dedicate my blog to, and I haven’t come to any conclusions. Because there are simply too many areas I would like to tell you about here: Be it interesting newspaper articles or books, insights in everyday life or professional challenges – I would like to record them all here in this blog.

Since I’m still very inexperienced at blogging, I’ll need a little time to find my own style in the beginning. But I’m quite confident, because what they say: Practice makes perfect!