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Genpact's India workforce powers e-racing event

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Business process management (BPM) major Genpact is helping the Envision Virgin Racing Team for the Formula E Championship — the world's first fully electric car racing event.

The current fifth season differs from the very popular Formula One racing in the critical way that the participants do not race based on laps but in a 45-minute and 30-minute format with the only constant being the energy of the car battery. The drivers have to make real-time decisions on how to utilise the available power to be able to not just win, but also ensure that it lasts through the prescribed time limit.

Genpact is training its people in India, giving data scientists the chance to work on real-time, real-world outcomes. It has a team of data scientists dedicated to driving performance, based in India." (The event has) 11 race teams, 22 drivers and each team has identical resource — the energy of the battery... then it's a mix of the cars' drivers' talent and the sophistication of the algorithm which we are providing," said Genpact's Chief Science Officer Armen Kherlopian.

The team has worked on algorithms that take into account hundreds of parameters, including pre-race track conditions and detailed telemetry from sensors monitoring every major component and system in the car.

At the centre of the work that Genpact is doing with Envision Virgin Racing is Genpact's Cora, an artificial intelligence platform that collects and analyses the available data and makes recommendations about energy management, speed, or passing strategies using all available data, in the fastest time possible. The drivers talk in real-time with the engineers while they race, and the human machine interaction becomes critical.

The use of AI in car racing is a growing trend, given that last year, Formula One chose Amazon Web Services to provide technology based insight. Researchers and teams study telemetric data, temperature, pressure, frequency, speed and so on received from onboard sensors. This data can help individual team drivers take decisions like steering, acceleration and brake, along with data such as lap times, top speeds, pit stop times, wind speeds on the track, and others for precise forecasting.

Organised by the same enterprise that hosts Formula One races — the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile — the difference with Formula E racing is that sustainability and a cleaner planet are built into every aspect of the races. Even the advertising sign boards used in the races since April this year will be environment-friendly.

"In Formula E, you have electric race cars, implication of sustainable cities, clean energies. They've also enabled sustainability in the business model. In Formula One, you can have one team spending $600 million while another can spend $100 million. The innovation in Formula E is that all teams are capped at an operating budget of $25 million, so this means the number of people that can be mobilised would count in the few dozens, not in the hundreds," said Kherlopian.

The article was authored by Neha Alawadhi and first published in Business Standard.

Instinctive Racing

Learn more about how Genpact is helping Envision Virgin Racing evolve into an instinctive racing team

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