Intel India, on June 27, showcased new smart mobility solutions for commercial vehicles, developed here in India. In an interview, Nivruti Rai, country head for Intel India and vice president at its global foundry services arm, said that the company aims to make these solutions a part of its global services, and has started working on building India’s semiconductor ecosystem. Edited excerpts:
Smart mobility solutions are usually built overseas. Are you indianizing solutions here?
Absolutely. I look at this as an opportunity. I tell my team that if you are building collision avoidance solutions here, it can be for the world. Like fridges have 5-star rating for efficiency and emissions, our collision detection algorithm will be like that (for safety).
When Mobileye’s (an automotive tech company Intel acquired in 2017) CEO saw the data we collected and the value that we can create, I became his biggest partner. We started working together on customized Indian solutions.
Are auto firms, which usually use such tech built outside India, looking to adopt Indianized solutions?
Yes. We already have a significant number of customers on some of the solutions, and we have big goals. I’m seeing people already signed up, and there are people asking us to share details. But when will they adopt this? If it is a luxury item, then you have to target the niche customers. But if it becomes a “livelihood” kind of solution, everybody is going to be interested. We also have to look at affordability, which means different business models, like pay as you go.
What is the government’s role in deploying these?
The government could build a policy saying that these kinds of safety requirements are mandatory. Then we’ll have a pilot ready to go. Data localisation requirements, what we are doing with the data, what data we are collecting, all of that requires the government’s support.
What about the semiconductor opportunity, why does Intel India seem to be working on software alone?
I don’t think Intel India is working on software. Having said that, I would love to work on more software. We’re doing both. The kind of software we build is more like firmware, which is closer to hardware. Now we’re also building middleware, and also partnering with applications.
What about Intel’s foundry business? Why don’t we hear about that in India?
I’m actually in foundry services. So, I’m going to look at how India can contribute and benefit. The semiconductor ecosystem is a complex one, you have to build IPs, you have to build supply-demand, vendors, etc. Who will buy these semiconductors? All of that ecosystem is time consuming, and we’ve started working on it — whether it is manufacturing, creating startups who can build IPs, fabless ecosystems etc.
Will Intel be part of the production linked incentives (PLI) that India has announced?
It takes time. You crawl, walk, run. We’re actually contributing to the crawl, walk before we start running. As Intel’s needs grow, we’re always evaluating (things).