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Research For The Future: Making The World A Better Place

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If you’re thinking of joining the tech world, then Intel is a great place to explore new research, new ideas and to anticipate the future. We spoke to Fabian Oboril, a Research Scientist at Intel Labs. He explains how research and creativity are encouraged at Intel.


Tell us about how you came to Intel.

I came from a research institute, having completed a PhD program. During my PhD, I was always interested in the automotive side of research. It’s not that I especially like cars, but I found the challenges behind them attractive, for example the idea that cars can drive themselves. So, I started looking for open positions that help to make cars autonomous. At the time, Intel was ramping up an automotive site in Karlsruhe and seemed like a good match.

I was invited to an interview, and it was very different to my expectations. It was an interview with several managers, with hardware and software people together. After we’d finished the interview, I was asked what I liked most and was offered several job opportunities. So here I am – Intel gives me the chance to learn something new.


What excites you about coming to work?

I work at Intel Labs, and we don’t develop products directly. Instead, our objective is to perform research to understand what the world will look like a few years from now. So, we can research problems that may be relevant in five to ten years. Based on this research, we try to develop IP and initial solutions that we transfer to our business units, which they try to further productize. As a result, the work is very diverse; from research to IP generation, active participation in major conferences, open-source software engagements and value creation for our business units.


Tell us what you’ve found interesting in your career so far.

I’ve been at Intel for about six years. I joined as a software engineer and started working on software development on a small scale. Quite quickly, we started to work on a software stack for autonomous driving – from environment perception to behavior planning – so I was actually tackling the problem I had dreamt about. I got to see how we’re working on self-driving challenges. Now I’m working as a research scientist on (autonomous) robots. This is a really interesting topic that’s likely to become very impactful for our industry and society.

The great thing about the labs is that the work is very diverse. It’s not only that we look into futuristic topics, but we are also encouraged to engage with the scientific community, publish papers and attend conferences. In addition, there is the aspect of IP creation, where we brainstorm on important topics, develop initial ideas and proof-of-concepts, and finally we work on patenting those.


How have you found the working culture at Intel?

You never do things alone at Intel – it’s always a team effort here. And it’s very diverse; you develop software, you give presentations and write patents.

There is an open-door policy, regardless of hierarchy levels. If I have a question or spot an issue, I can always contact people who can help to solve it. It’s one of those pleasant surprises – when you get to know how things work, you can use this open-door policy to create additional impact.


Why would you suggest someone join Intel?

I was once asked, “what would be different, if you were to change your job?” My answer is that I don’t want to change at the moment, because of the team I work with, my manager, and the freedom I have. We work on our research agenda as a team, where everyone is able to make an impact, and everyone has the freedom to explore different opportunities. You feel the encouragement. Intel Labs encourages us all to be creative and to come up with new solutions to problems we see in the world.


What do you think people might find surprising about Intel?

Intel is famous. Everybody knows Intel from the advertisements, such as ‘Intel Inside’. People know the company, but they don’t always understand what we do nowadays. Yes, we are a chip maker, but Intel does so much more. Once you’re in the company, you can explore different areas. There is, for example, a lot of software development happening at Intel, that people might not know about.


Do you feel like Intel is making a positive impact?

Absolutely. The products we develop make the world a better place in many ways. The connected world, as we see it today, wouldn’t be possible without Intel. Intel has made a great contribution to it. There are also many smaller initiatives that people may not know about. For instance, there is research being conducted at Intel into how cancer detection can be improved, or how we can make life better for the elderly.

There are also the challenges we see arising due to climate change. It must be our objective not only to develop digital solutions and connect people – making their lives easier – but also to make people’s lives greener. And this again is a topic that is highly relevant to the future, which is the agenda of Intel Labs.


Ready to do more with your career? At Intel, we give you the freedom to push ideas and yourself. If this sounds like your kind of challenge, you should join our team.


Find out more about jobs at Intel Germany.