DailyPost 1913

Research is something everybody wants to be known for. The TV anchors blare out everyday, their self-styled research. India is the land of research which is known for its filler gap approach. The beauty is that either there is no gap at all or else there is no need to fill that gap. It adds no value. Serious primary research we don’t risk. Leave aside products, we even shy away from software. If we get into an earth shattering product R&D, risking all you have and the future unknown, maybe it is as perilous or more, compared to the research itself. That is what a product development is all about and that is what  modern state of art R&D is meant for. It has been made cushy the world over as another profession or vocation, not as something that can change life over and over again.

Getting flak would be your fate, how can you show a super success even from the pre-proto type stage. The well laid dining table will never be able to give an account of the production of the ingredients, the supply chain, becoming a relevant inventory and finally been cooked and served in the most aesthetic manner. This would help you understand in a very simplified manner what a world class product can mean, if iconic then less said the better. The man behind the R&D feat is what we look for. He said: ”I think it’s one of those things where you’re not going to get rewarded necessarily for the lives that you save, but you will definitely be blamed for the lives that you don’t save.”

The famed R&D icon is none other than Elon Musk and the path breaking technology he is talking about is ”Autopilot technology.” He has termed this technology as ”business at risk” a technology on which Tesla lives and thrives on. Tesla has been rightly credited to have paved the way for autonomous electric vehicles, still treated as a rarity, where it can happen and undoable in large parts of the world. The credit for this technology comes with criticism of its failure even now,* when Elon Musk is giving to the world the best of electric vehicles, and that too with Autopilot technology. He was recently named the person of the year by Time Magazine. Of late, there has been intense scrutiny over accidents caused by this technology.

He has been seeing month to month improvement in the progress being made in the development of this technology towards the ultimate goal of becoming a failsafe one. He reminiscences, ”There’s something somebody said to me at the beginning of when we were pursuing autonomy: even if you save 90% of the lives, the 10% that you don’t save are going to sue you.” A technologist in the warrior mode to make R&D perform at his whims and fancy. How many people are ready to risk even their life for research and development to make the world and human life much more livable. Tesla faces legal woes linked to 12 accidents since 2018. Legal action is also being sought for allegedly misrepresenting and using deceptive marketing for its Autopilot  and Full Self-Driving Services. A technology which will save millions of lives also has run the risk of its own life and the perilous R&D journey of it’s founder.


Sanjay Sahay

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