Mercedes-Benz CTO Markus Schäfer is energized by his visit to Silicon Valley. The executive is at the automaker’s Sunnyvale, California, research and development center to meet with his team and local tech companies.

“Very, very interesting discussions were had about potential partnerships in the future,” Schäfer tells The Verge as we sit down for a chat about the future of Mercedes-Benz. The company is in the midst of a supercharged transformation into an EV platform while working to become the first automaker to have a passenger vehicle for sale in the United States with Level 3 driver-assistance technology. The system allows the driver to not pay attention to the road or control the vehicle under very select circumstances — typically…

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