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Bhopal Startup CEO Claims Competitor Status with Tesla, Citing Viral Success of Automated Mahindra Bolero

Anand Mahindra, the Chairman of Mahindra Group, recently shared a video on social media showcasing a modified Bolero SUV equipped with self-driving capabilities, navigating through the bustling streets of Bhopal. The mastermind behind this innovative transformation is Sanjeev Sharma, the CEO of Swaayatt Robots, who claims to have developed technology capable of maneuvering Indian streets autonomously.

In an interview with News18, Sharma boldly asserted that his startup is a direct competitor to Elon Musk’s Tesla. While conventional wisdom suggests that fully autonomous vehicles are still a decade away, Sharma believes that with sufficient funding and resources, his company can achieve this feat much sooner.

Sharma’s journey began during his time at IIT Roorkee, where he stumbled upon videos from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) showcasing the DARPA Urban Challenge, sparking his interest in exploring the complexities of autonomous driving in dynamic traffic environments. Building on this foundation, Sharma furthered his expertise through various academic and research endeavors, including stints in Israel, the University of Alberta, and collaboration with renowned experts in the field.

Established in 2015 upon his return to India, Swaayatt Robots symbolized the formalization of Sharma’s vision, initially supported by his own modest investments. Over the years, the team diligently refined their technology through extensive research and testing, culminating in over 80 demonstrations on Indian roads, including the recent Bolero test near Kankali Kali Mata temple in Bhopal.

At the core of Swaayatt Robots’ success lies their commitment to fundamental research and development, leveraging advancements in artificial intelligence, mathematics, and theoretical computer science, particularly in reinforcement learning, to redefine autonomous navigation. One of their notable achievements is the successful integration of autonomous technology into a diverse range of vehicles, exemplified by the Mahindra Bolero SUV.

Sharma emphasized the universality of their technology, highlighting its capability to automate any vehicle worldwide, with the successful demonstration of automated driving in India serving as a testament to its adaptability and effectiveness. Moreover, Swaayatt Robots showcased proficiency in both on-road and off-road driving scenarios, encompassing path navigation, high-speed traffic and obstacle avoidance, and even handling encounters with animals on the road.

Despite these accomplishments, Sharma acknowledged that scaling up their technology requires additional funding, with an estimated investment of $15 million necessary to expand their presence and accelerate the development of their autonomous navigation solutions. Nonetheless, Sharma remains optimistic about the future prospects of Swaayatt Robots, asserting their leadership position in certain areas of autonomous driving and their ability to compete effectively with established players in the industry.

In conclusion, Sanjeev Sharma’s journey from IIT Roorkee to founding Swaayatt Robots represents a remarkable testament to India’s burgeoning prowess in the field of autonomous technology. With continued support and investment, Sharma envisions his startup playing a significant role in shaping the future of autonomous transportation not only in India but on a global scale.

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