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Infosys and Maini Group - Driving forward with autonomous technology

As autonomous technologies gain new ground, a partnership with Maini Group has also gained through an innovative collaboration to develop autonomous vehicles. Here’s a story of the coming together of two innovative companies.

Highlights

  • “You could be 30 years ahead of your time, which neither serves the society, neither serves your customer, and neither makes your business viable.” – Sandeep Maini
  • “Autonomous technology is one of the coolest technologies that can be applied in multiple segments, multiple industries, and multiple problems can be solved.” – Dr. Ravi Kumar
  • “If our country, and our world, have to move to the next step quickly… there must be cooperation, there must be coordination, and there must be collaboration.” – Sandeep Maini
  • “(Maini Group) has a good experience in hardware and hardware technologies. Infosys is good in the software embedded and autonomous technologies.” – Dr. Ravi Kumar

“Appropriate technology is very important… because at times, you could be 30 years ahead of your time, which neither serves the society, neither serves your customer, and neither makes your business viable,” says Sandeep Maini.

Maini, who is the Chairman of Maini Group, believes that technology should be created at the right time and is the best way to serve the need of the hour.

Bearing this belief in mind, Maini Group, which was founded close to 50 years ago, has appropriately focused on innovations that are the need of the times. Whether it is innovation in mobility, innovation in autonomous mobility, and in spaces like warehousing and material handling, where they operate, they work towards finding a range of solutions.

“You could be 30 years ahead of your time, which neither serves the society, neither serves your customer, and neither makes your business viable,” says Sandeep Maini.

For Infosys, where there is a consistent drive towards innovation, this was the perfect opportunity to collaborate.

Dr. Dr Ravi Kumar G. V. V, Head - Advanced Engineering Group at Infosys, says the mandate for innovation was taking root.

“As part of the advanced engineering group, we have a mandate to incubate nurture, and mature advanced technologies,” he says, and as a part of this decision, the team felt the need to incubate autonomous technologies in engineering services in the year 2016.

Taking small steps forward, the team at Infosys built a prototype that incorporated new-age technologies such as a Drive-by-Wire system, advanced LiDAR and vision technologies, AI and deep learning, among others, to build a prototype that could navigate from point A to point B.

At that opportune time, Maini entered the scene.

Maini visited the Mysore campus of Infosys, where he saw the prototype, and his feedback helped bring together the two teams of innovators.

“As a part of the discussion, we decided to collaborate in an autonomous golf cart, to further mature this particular product, industrialize it, and take it to market,” says Dr. Kumar.

During their discussions to take the product to market, they figured that organizations might not be ready to invest further when they already have capital equipment in place. They, however, might be willing to try a new technology if it is retrofitted, and can be removed in case it does not work out.

“That is something that most customers will lap up to check technology, and Infosys had done this already,” says Maini, adding that Infosys had already worked on a solution.

“(Infosys) had made a compact solution. They had made a scalable solution. But more importantly, they had made a solution that was market acceptable on pricing,” he adds.

“As a part of the discussion, we decided to collaborate in an autonomous golf cart, to further mature this particular product, industrialize it, and take it to market,” says Dr. Kumar.

The value of bringing together solution driven mindsets, with technical abilities was clearly evidenced in this partnership.

“(Maini Group) has a good experience in hardware and hardware technologies. Infosys is good in the software embedded and autonomous technologies,” says Dr. Kumar.

The results, as they say, were there for everyone to see.

The association resulted in success when the team not only launched the autonomous buggy, but also received their first commercial order in a short span of time.

“From the time we started this association, to the time we launched and won the first commercial order, in relative terms, with respect to autonomous technology, was a pretty short time,” says Maini, adding, “I thought that was a very sweet success to start with.”

“If our country, and our world, have to move to the next step quickly, I do believe that there must be cooperation, there must be coordination and in addition there must be collaboration,” says Maini.

The collaboration, since then, has been growing from strength to strength.

Dr. Kumar says that the teams are already working on three product lines - autonomous golf carts, remote guided vehicles, and autonomous tow trucks.

“We see many more products that we can work on together,” says Dr. Kumar, adding, “Autonomous technology is one of the coolest technologies that can be applied in multiple segments, multiple industries, and multiple problems can be solved.”

Echoing the thought, Maini strongly believes that collaboration is the way forward for innovation, and the days of islands of excellence in our country, or in the world, are done with.

“If our country, and our world, have to move to the next step quickly, I do believe that there must be cooperation, there must be coordination and in addition there must be collaboration, because no one entity has got the knowledge of everything,” says Maini.

“If I keep this as a premise, the relationship with Infosys… ticks all these boxes in a very holistic manner.”

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