Venkatesha Babu |
Bengaluru, April 4
Apr 04, 2022
India is at the front and center in how we deliver innovation using electronics and software
India hosts the second largest R & D facility of the company outside of Germany. What kind of work is being done here?
Till recently Daimler AG was holding entity for companies which are focused on passenger cars and van (under) Mercedes-Benz brand and Daimler Truck and Buses, which is the commercial vehicles segment and then there was the financial services business. Sometime in the spring of last year, globally, it was split from a holding structure into two dedicated companies, one focusing on passenger cars and vans and second focusing on commercial vehicles. Respective financial services went with those two companies.
We decided to split as these are two businesses playing in different markets, different competition landscape and different realities, different investment profiles and so on. So there was a need to give them the independence to win in the marketplace.
It was announced in March or April last year, but it went live on the December 1, 2021 when the listing was also separated. In India too, the integrated engineering center we had was also split into two engineering centers. One that focused on Mercedes-Benz cars and vans, which is MBRDI. We created a new entity carving out the engineering and IT portion which was dedicated for trucks into what we now call as Daimler Truck Innovation Center India (DTICI).
A sizable portion (of engineering resources) moved to DTICI and there has been a steep ramp up which will continue this year and a few more years to come.
We’re focused on two things. One is product engineering and second is information technology. This is where we are building deep expertise. In product engineering, we are building expertise in end-to-end engineering, which, very simply put, is from sheet metal to software.
We have engineers who work on how we design and build trucks and buses right from mechanical design, electrical design and things like designing powertrains, transmission, suspension, the cabin, how we put lots and lots of electronics and software into our vehicles. So this is the entire gamut of engineering and focus area for us where we’re building our deep capabilities.
This is both for Indian and global operations, right?
We are working for our full global operations, including India. We look at the regions as four, one is Europe, which is Germany and other central European countries and this region also includes South America. The second is the North America region, which caters tor the US and and Mexico and Canada. The third is what we call Daimler Truck Asia, which caters to all the Asian countries. And China, we kind of look at it as a separate region.The engineering work that I just spoke about happens for every single brand in every single region that I just mentioned.
There is no other location in Daimler Truck where we have engineers sitting in the same building in the same time zone within the same operating structure who work on all the brands. So, this is one of the uniqueness of DTICI and we drive a lot of product innovation by using this.
What kind of work on the IT and software part is being done here?
When we split a company which has been together for more than 100 years and then set up a new entity, a lot of the IT systems which have been around for so long have to be repositioned and recreated. Also, the digital landscape of a commercial vehicle business is very different from that of a passenger vehicle business.
So there is a huge amount of activity globally where we are repositioning our key platforms. We are doing a lot of work in advanced analytics and data science. Operations in manufacturing engineering, after-sales, logistics and all the data that we generate from our trucks which are which are 100 per cent connected. This is what is happening globally and the teams in India are fully involved and they own a lot of pieces of this.
Most of the innovation and most of the value addition for our fleets and for our commercial customers will be driven by software in the future, so you already have the hardware which is the truck along with all the electronics on the road, and the question is how do you make it better every day by creating more and more features and making the trucks safer.
By using software, which means the innovation cycles are going to be shorter and will be driven by software. So there is huge amount of investment happening in zero emission and on software lead innovation. This is where the focus for DTICI is as well.
We have lots of work going on in zero emission. One is to go to battery electric from internal combustion engine and also to try and see if we can bring fuel cell technology based on hydrogen which is also zero emission technology.
On the electronics and software bit, India is absolutely at the front and center in how we deliver innovation using electronics and software. In fact, one of the decisions that we made was to transfer the global accountability of connected solutions to India, which means the team in India owns this for all brands and all regions.
So we get the best of the computer science engineers, control software engineers and we train them. For instance, all (Diamler) electric buses which are already running in many cities in Europe, the entire control software was developed here in India and that’s deep computer science skills. As a company here we solve some of the toughest engineering problems. We own them from strategy to design to implementation.
April 04, 2022