Patrick van der Smagt


Patrick van der Smagt is director of the open-source Volkswagen Group Machine Learning Research Lab in Munich, focussing on probabilistic deep learning for time series modelling, optimal control, reinforcement learning robotics, and quantum machine learning. He is also research professor in the CS faculty at Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. He previously directed a lab as professor for machine learning and biomimetic robotics at the Technical University of Munich while leading the machine learning group at the research institute fortiss, and before founded and headed the Assistive Robotics and Bionics Lab at the DLR Oberpfaffenhofen. Quite a bit earlier, he did his PhD and MSc at Amsterdam’s universities. Besides publishing numerous papers and patents on machine learning, robotics, and motor control, he has won a number of awards, including the 2013 Helmholtz-Association Erwin Schrödinger Award, the 2014 King-Sun Fu Memorial Award, the 2013 Harvard Medical School/MGH Martin Research Prize, the 2018 Webit Best Implementation of AI Award, and best-paper awards at machine learning and robotics conferences and journals. Patrick reviews for governmental funding organisations and serve[ds] on conference and journal boards. He is founding chairman of a non-for-profit organisation for Assistive Robotics for tetraplegics and co-founder of various tech companies. In 2018, he started a for-good initiative 10toGO by supporting teams using machine learning for the UN SDGs. Also then, he initiated etami, an initiative on Ethical and Trustworthy Artificial and Machine Intelligence, creating an organisation with almost 20 multinationals and universities.


  • head of AI research, Volkswagen Group
  • director of Machine Learning Research Lab, Volkswagen Group, Munich
  • research professor, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
  • member of the AI Council, Bavaria
  • founding head of etami
  • Pilot of ACEA Task Force on AI
  • Ellis faculty member & member of the Munich Ellis unit
  • fellow of 42 Wolfsburg
  • member of Expertenrat Künstliche Intelligenz, Microsoft Germany
  • member of Expert Council "AI – Data Science" of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs


  • machine learning
  • neural networks
  • robotics, control
  • optimisation
  • computational neuroscience
  • biomechanics
  • brain-machine interfaces