(From left) Pushkar Limaye, Urmil Shah and Rohan Vadgaonkar rode on their passion for auto to eventually start Carnot Technologies
In 2012, a team of 30 mechanical engineering students from IIT-Bombay became the first Indians to build an all-electric racing car to compete at the Silverstone Formula-1 racing track in the UK, as part of the IIT Racing competition — Urmil Shah, Pushkar Limaye, Rohan Vadgaonkar and Prathmesh Joshi. After graduating, the four friends went their separate ways, chasing a future in the corporate world. Auto, however, continued to remain a passion.
So, nearly four years after graduating, they decided to call time on their respective day jobs and start Carnot Technologies, a tech start-up designed to create a smart car platform that makes one’s vehicle smarter by connecting it to one’s smartphone, so that one can keep a constant eye on their car. When that took off, with an encouraging response of nearly 1,000 users registering in less than six months, they decided to translate the same concept to bikes.
Six months ago, they entered the smart bike concept at the Design India Challenge organised by global chip maker Qualcomm. They managed to make it to the top 10, where they were given a fund of $10,000 to develop their product further. Last week, in the final leg of the competition, Carnot became one among the top three start-ups in India, to be incubated by Qualcomm, and was awarded a grant of $100,000.
Explaining the technology, Urmil Shah, business and marketing head, says, “Think of it as a fit-bit for your car or bike. We have developed a product (hardware) that can be plugged into the OBD (on-board diagnostics) port of your vehicle and can then be paired with your smartphone through an app. So, you’ll know at all times what’s happening with your vehicle, how it’s being driven, servicing prompts, and most importantly, towing alerts.”
Currently, the team is in the process of developing the platform for bikers. The biking community being far wider than the car community, they plan to add more features for the same.
“The Qualcomm grant has come as a huge boost as we could draw a lot from their mentoring and overall R&D support. In about four months, we plan to integrate both cars and bike monitoring through one phone app. The idea is to build an open ecosystem of connected vehicles. We have also tied up with insurance companies which will add one more layer of security to the whole system,” adds 26-year-old Shah.