Innovation is the need of the hour, but open Innovation is what is driving businesses to come up with cutting edge solutions to secure future. Today, businesses are on a lookout for futuristic solutions to fulfil corporate goals that are beyond dealing with competitors. India’s evolving automobile and mobility sector seeks innovative ideas to prepare for the uncertain future.
Solutions that minimize carbon emissions and increase convenience with cost-efficiencies and total connectivity. To shape the future and build a thriving ecosystem of co-creation in India Maruti Suzuki has plugged into innovative startups with its flagship program MAIL - Mobility and Automation Innovation Lab program. It is an exclusive program to support Government of India’s #StartupIndia initiative
Under this program Maruti Suzuki India Limited has selected five startups for Proof of Concept (PoC) under its initiative. This will accelerate these concepts towards real-time applications. Objective is to identify and bring together startups with innovative and cutting-edge solutions, to collaborate for open innovation in mobility and automobile space. Five startups namely Enmovil, Docketrun, Eyedentify, Xane and SenseGiz, were selected for cohort 1. These 5 startups presented their solutions at the Demo Day organized in New Delhi.
Disruptive innovation makes way for evolution in the automobile sector
At the moment, digital innovation is acting as a disruptor in various industries. The automotive industry isn’t far behind. Advanced technologies have the power to optimise and enhance the manufacturing and supply chain capabilities of automobile companies. Auto companies are thinking of capitalising on the emerging new technologies to come up with sustainable solutions while staying profitable. Breakthrough ideas in the areas of autonomous cars, shared mobility, connected cars, and electric vehicles are being explored by industry leaders to change the landscape of the automobile sector.
In the future, smart infrastructure such as AI-powered traffic lights, vehicle to vehicle connectivity, driver analysis, etc. will make mobility safer and effective. Industry leaders will have to work together with stakeholders for setting the ground to bring about the transition in the industry with smart ideas and growth-enabling policies. There will be a shift in traditional auto manufacturing with innovation spearheading processing hardware and software, vehicle safety, battery technology, and other aspects of automobile functioning. As disruptive ideas metamorphose into realities of the auto industry, there will be a lot of uncertainty surrounding the ideas. However, companies operating in the automobile sector have to think of the uncertain future as an opportunity and stay prepared with game-changing concepts.
It’s time for the transition of automotive sector in India
Research indicates that sharing solutions and vehicle electrification can lead to cumulative savings of 1.5 gigatonnes of CO2 by 2035 in India. E-mobility will shape the future of the automotive industry with connectivity, shared mobility, autonomous driving, and electrification which will bring forth sustainable solutions. To upgrade their capabilities for offering such solutions, automobile companies will need expertise in adaptive machine learning algorithms, blockchain, new battery technologies, additive manufacturing, sensors, smart grid, nanotechnology, and other futuristic technologies. But the idea of doing everything in-house can be unrealistic and unfeasible. Their business models will have to be realigned. To prepare for such a transition, established automotive companies will look for mutually beneficial collaboration opportunities with innovative startups.
Automotive companies are looking forward to invest in the potential of startups and gain from their expertise. In turn, the startups will enjoy visibility for their innovative solution, and an opportunity to test their ideas with the partner automobile company’s larger customer network and support system. India’s largest automobile manufacturer Maruti Suzuki introduced the MAIL (Mobility and Automation Innovation Lab) program to leverage the cutting-edge ideas by early-stage startups for driving innovation during this transition phase in India’s mobility and automobile space.
Building an innovation ecosystem for the automobile sector with MAIL
Maruti Suzuki’s MAIL is a corporate accelerator that’s specially designed to support startups. Startups with ideas that can be applied in the field of automobile and mobility are invited to apply for the MAIL program. The MAIL program selects the top 5 startups in its cohort after careful screening and evaluation of applications. These startups get mentored by startup industry experts (international and domestic) as well as an opportunity to work on an actual use case assigned by Maruti Suzuki. The automobile industry giant will also help the startups with technical support from in-house engineers. The winners of the cohort would be given an opportunity to do a paid Proof of Concept (Pilot) with Maruti Suzuki. The Maruti Suzuki MAIL initiative is powered by GHV Accelerator, an Indo-Japanese early-stage seed fund. So far, Cohort 1 has successfully completed and the startups selected in Cohort 2 are currently fine-tuning their solution, so as to make it easily adoptable in the industry. It is a mutually beneficial relationship wherein the startups get the growth support and the backing of a known brand such as Maruti Suzuki. On the other hand, Maruti Suzuki benefits from the innovative ideas enabling it to offer better offerings to its customers.
During the MAIL program, a series of training, mentoring and networking sessions are conducted to help startups’ improve their ideas. Notable mentors for the MAIL program include Tanja Kufner, Startup Mentor, Germany, Holger G. Weiss, MD & CEO of German Autolabs Venture Partner, Target Partners GmbH, Atul Arya, Head - Energy Systems at Division Panasonic, Dr. Tsutomu Tsuboi, General Manager, Nagoya Electric Works Co Ltd., Japan, Manji Suzuki, Vice President, Innovation at Denso International, and others. Finally, the cohort participants present their developed business solutions to the MD and senior leadership of MSIL on the Demo day. The winners will get Maruti Suzuki cars and an educational-cum-networking trip to Japan. Along with an opportunity to do a paid pilot with Maruti Suzuki, winners also get to meet one of Maruti Suzuki’s ambassadors.
For companies operating in the Indian automotive and mobility sector, these are testing times and opportunity of a remarkable transformation. To upgrade their capabilities and prepare for the future, companies are looking for startups with out-of-box ideas. As a forward-thinking automobile industry leader, Maruti Suzuki has already taken steps to welcome the future with innovative solutions, co-created with startups.
To find out how Maruti Suzuki’s MAIL initiative is driving innovation in the automotive and mobility space in India, visit www.marutisuzukimail.com
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