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When call centers began to proliferate in Indian metropolises two decades ago, India has come a long way from serving as the world’s back office. Indian technology is now driving the aerospace and automotive industries.
India offers a ready supply of digital engineering skills as complicated digital technology and algorithms are used by cars and aircraft more frequently and aerospace companies grow their operations. Indian talent is more affordable, which encourages outsourcing from wealthy nations.
Auto Majors bet on Indian Digital Tech
India has become the place to go for digital engineering and talent. This is because the amount of software in vehicles is growing, and systems like smart cockpits are becoming important parts of the auto ecosystem.
India has become the place where auto OEMs like Renault, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, and Honda go to get their digital content needs met, according to a recent JP Morgan Equity Research report. This is because India has a lot of skilled engineers and engineering research and development (ER&D) hubs that offer low-cost solutions.
Because of the high demand, L&T Technology Services (LTTS), which does engineering research and development, opened a delivery center in Krakow, Poland, last year to meet the needs of a major US car OEM.
ER&D services companies help auto OEMs and tier-1 component suppliers design and build electric vehicle, car infotainment systems, and algorithms for autonomous driving.
Auto OEMs are in a hurry to move toward EACVs, which are electric, self-driving, and connected vehicles. This is pushing them to work with service providers to speed up the time it takes to build new products and get them on the market. Experts say that digital technologies like improved driver assistance systems and software-defined vehicles (SDVs) are helping to make this happen.
Leading Indian service companies like LTTS, KPIT Technologies, Tata Elxsi, and Cyrient are putting a lot of money on EACV and spending in digital engineering, talent building, and upskilling. ET recently spoke with Pareekh Jain, CEO of EIIRTrend & Pareekh Consulting. He said, “India is in a sweet spot because there is no other place where businesses can get digital talent on a large scale and at reasonable prices.”
Flying on Indian Tech
Indian tech has been used by military companies for a long time, but auto companies in the West are just starting to use it because more and more cars use high-tech digital features.
Bloomberg reported recently that Boeing Co. and Airbus SE are looking more and more to India for highly skilled, low-cost engineers to meet a boom in demand for planes and to grow their manufacturing presence in the world’s fifth-largest economy.
Bloomberg said that with about 1.5 million engineering students finishing every year, India is a great place for plane makers to find skilled workers. This is because airlines are placing record orders as travel picks up again after the Covid pandemic. Glassdoor, a site that collects pay information, says that Boeing can hire an engineer in Bengaluru, India, which is a tech hub in the south of the country, for 7% of what it would cost for a similar job in Seattle. India has the second most people working for Boeing in the world, after its base in Seattle, which is in the US.
Rockwell Collins, which makes electronics for cockpits, was one of the first aerospace companies to do important work in India in 2000, when the Indian company HCL started testing software for it. In the same year, Boeing and HCL set up a “center of excellence” in Chennai to make software that is important for flight tests.
Almost every big aerospace company in the world has a large engineering footprint in India today. This is because aircrafts are becoming digital products, and the companies that make them need India’s top software, simulation, and electronics engineers.
Ashmita Sethi, who is the country head of Pratt & Whitney, says that India has a lot to offer the world in terms of talent, research, innovation, and engineering output. In an interview with TOI two years ago, she said, “The progress Indian startups have made in allowing step-change innovation in aerospace is a great example of this.” “They were able to use their knowledge of AR/VR, machine learning, analytics, and IoT to come up with some really unique innovations and solutions for the aerospace industry.”
A top company official told PTI in February that Indian engineers were at the forefront of designing an aircraft engine that will cut fuel use by up to 20%. The engine was made at GE’s biggest research center in Bengaluru. India is home to GE’s biggest R&D center in the world. There are more than 1,000 engineers in the aviation section.
Since it began as a back office in India more than a decade ago, GE Aviation has grown by leaps and bounds. as it began to make new goods. Two years ago, a GE Aviation official told TOI that the India team worked on the GEnx engine, which is the company’s best-selling high-thrust jet engine.
“Every step of the way, our team here has a big stake in how GEnx turns out. “The team here would help make 20–40% of most products,” he said.
It would be a stretch to say that the world can’t run without software from India. But it is true to say that Indian software runs the world today. The first statement might come true in the not-too-distant future as cars and planes use more and more digital technology, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, self-driving cars, etc.