HCL TechnologiesNSE 0.84 % is exploring the idea of introducing some of its advancements in the autonomous vehicles space in Indian market, which can prove a template for deployment in other cost-sensitive markets facing the twin challenges of on-road discipline and connectivity.
HCL Technologies helps engineering companies accelerate product development in a range of industries from aerospace and defence to semiconductors as part of a vertical that makes up a $2-billion business for the Noida, Uttar Pradesh-headquartered company.
As part of this vertical, HCL started investing in creating software for autonomous vehicle space about 12 months ago. “Our focus is on what is required for the Indian market. Even though the ecosystem in terms of discipline and connectivity is still improving, we are exploring what we can do as and when the Indian market gets ready for autonomous cars,” said GH Rao, president for engineering and services at HCL. While autonomous cars are being tested in developed markets, the traffic congestion and lack of lane discipline are seen as deterrents for the entry of the emerging technology on Indian roads. At the same time, Indian companies have locally built cars that have components of autonomous technologies such as assisted parking and collision warning systems.
HCL Tech is also looking to harness the expertise in image recognition and systems engineering from work it has done for non-automobile clients in its efforts to develop the underlying technologies for autonomous vehicles. As of now, HCL has made advancements in areas like image processing, remote software upgrades and safety systems. HCL has also developed a technology for a car to automatically detect an obstacle on road and apply brakes.
Rao said there are possibilities of retrofitting such technologies in existing cars to enable autonomous capabilities incrementally. He views HCL’s foray into autonomous vehicles as a “continuum” from the company’s involvement in devising safety systems for cars, and is confident that simultaneous developments in the fields of IoT , VR and communications would unlock more potential.