The year was 1886. Unknown to each other, three German men located only 60 miles apart were working diligently on inventions that would change the world. They were on the cusp of inventing an alternative to steam-powered and horse-powered vehicles. Implementation of the first automobile, made possible with gasoline powered internal combustion engines, took place both in the Mannheim garage of Karl Benz and in Stuttgart as a joint effort of Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach.

Years later, in 1924, these same three men would merge their companies into the car giant we now know as Mercedes-Benz. Few inventions have had as remarkable an impact on the course of human history and mankind’s advances as the invention of the automobile. What began as simply an idea in the shops of a few imaginative men was developed into a global industry that has spread across virtually all cultures and societies.

Photos courtesy Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz recently announced that they plan to harness Buckhead’s innovation and imagination to find the next great idea or technology that could transform our world in similar ways. Lab1886, a think tank initiative founded by Mercedes-Benz, has tapped Buckhead as the location for its next global innovation hub. Named ‘Terminus’ as an ode to Atlanta’s original name and history of railway transit, the center will encourage and inspire new ideas from Mercedes-Benz employees to provide ideas and solutions not exclusive to the automotive industry. Projects will then be voted on, and winning ideas are afforded the resources and guidance of global automotive giant Mercedes-Benz to bring those ideas to fruition.

Through Lab1886 in Buckhead, Mercedes-Benz aims to “support the transformation of Daimler from a car manufacturer to a leading mobility provider in the future.” The Buckhead center, located at WeWork in the Terminus complex on Peachtree Road, is expected to accommodate about two dozen Mercedes-Benz employees, and their philosophy can be broken down into three stages of idea development: ideation, incubation, and commercialization.

The Mercedes-Benz USA Headquarters, located just north of Buckhead in Sandy Springs

This news comes on the heels of Mercedes-Benz’s 2015 decision to relocate their United States headquarters from New Jersey to Sandy Springs, just a few miles North of Buckhead. Their new headquarters cost around $90 million to develop, spans 200,000 square feet, and is projected to house around 1,000 employees.

Innovation and the future of transportation has long been a major part of the Lab1886 effort. Their projects from their other hubs, two of which are located in Germany and one in Beijing, include new technologies such as an automated driving pilot, a mobile platform for motorsports, and perhaps most excitingly, the Volocopter (pictured above) an electric autonomous flying vehicle reminiscent of a drone.  

With the implementation of Lab1886, Buckhead continues to recognized as a global hub for innovation and technological advances. Who knows, maybe in a few years we can solve our own transportation quandaries with concepts like the Volocopter, and we will all be flying around Buckhead Jetson’s-style instead of sitting in traffic. We can dream, right?