Tata is one of the largest companies in India and stretches into just about every industry … cars, heavy trucks, metal supply, technology, consulting … even cell service, to name a few. From the looks of it, Tata is interested in stretching its wings (and the business) into the US, as subsidiary Tata Technologies has announced the opening of a new “innovation lab” in the renowned tech hub Silicon Valley in Northern California.
Silicon Valley has been a hub for innovation on the ‘net and in technology for the last ~30 years or more, and over the last few years, has become a hub for integrating that technology into cars with Tesla, Ford, BMW, Mercedes, VW, Nissan, and others having local offices there with similar goals of harnessing the technological innovation of the Valley for integration into vehicles.
Technology in cars used to be as simple as the standalone infotainment system, which, over time, evolved into GPS and navigation, then into the actual brains of the car, and now is undergoing a full step change as the automotive industry gears up for the race towards the first production car capable of fully autonomous driving. The average modern car on the road today is often tooling around with more than 100 million lines of code in it — a staggering amount for something as basic as a gasoline engine–powered vehicle, but speaks to the complexity of modern cars.
With this in mind, it makes loads of sense why Tata is coming to the brain trust of US tech talent to open an innovation center, and the Tata story doesn’t stop there. The company is also working on an electric car that can scale and it stands to make a sizeable profit if the automaker can bottle up Silicon Valley tech and roll it into a compact, affordable electric car for the masses back home in India.
“A lot of innovation is happening in the E-car concept and we are setting up our innovation lab in California to intersect and help such companies productionize some of their ideas,” said Samir Yajnik, Tata Technologies and President Global Delivery & COO APAC.
Tata shared that the new effort will leverage existing efforts in Bangalore and Pune in concert with new teams in Europe and the US. In support of the new center, Tata Technologies Inc is currently hiring a Resident Engineer for its automotive program in Palo Alto — though, there will likely be a much larger wave of hiring just prior to the startup of a new center. Leveraging the globally distributed strength of Tata will be a challenge as the company is used to operating within India, with support of an array of Tata teams across industries.
The video below of the Tata Technologies eMo concept speaks to many of the themes we have seen in first generation EVs like the BMW i3, Honda Fit EV, and the smart EV — though, it likely has some opportunities when it comes to interior passenger space, for most Americans at least.
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