August 15, 2022
During the country’s 75th Independence Day celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated his argument for innovation in India over the next 25 years. Much of this goal, however, depends on the country’s progress in the technological space. As India plans to head towards its 100th independence, technology will certainly be one of the key factors in its growth and development. Here, we highlight some of the key technological advancements that Indians can expect until 2047.
Strengthened presence in chip manufacturing and electronics manufacturing
Increasing India’s contribution to the global electronics and semiconductor supply chain is currently high on the government’s priority list. Production Linked Incentive (PLI) programs have been announced for the manufacture of mobile phones, computer hardware and chips, in the hope that they will help expand manufacturing in the country.
As a result, global manufacturing giants like Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron have already set up factories in the country and accelerated the manufacturing of Apple iPhones in the country. The mobile PLI also offers flexibilities to Indian companies, like Lava and Dixon, allowing them to reap the benefits of making low-end devices, while global companies will only get benefits for making phones whose price is over ₹20,000.
In December 2021, the government also introduced an incentive scheme worth ₹76,000 crore (about US$10 billion) to attract international semiconductor and display manufacturers to the country. The Vedanta and Tata groups have already announced plans to set up display factories in India as well, although experts have noted that such factories will take at least five years to set up, if not longer.
In April, the government also set up a panel to support start-ups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in the sector. Several start-ups are hoping that the semiconductor push will allow them to overcome obstacles and achieve global success.
Earlier this month, Tamil Nadu-based semiconductor manufacturing company Polymatech announced that it would invest $1 billion to expand its chipset manufacturing and packaging facility in the state. Nandam Eswara Rao, founding chairman of Polymatech, told Mint that the first phase of the facility will have the capacity to produce 250 million chips per year.
Admittedly, this is not the first time that India has tried to establish itself as a hub of semiconductor manufacturing. By the mid-1980s, Bangalore was to become an international technology hub, including the semiconductor industry. The American chipmaker Texas Instruments (TI) had set up a In-country R&D center in 1985 to design microchips and a few others followed suit. Despite a promising start, India lost out in the semiconductor race soon after, while countries like China and Taiwan took the lead. Pushing the country’s share in semiconductors has been on the cards for a few decades now, so hopefully this time will be better.
Drones are worth it
India is already seeing advancements in manufacturing drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Their use for civilian purposes has evolved globally in recent years and may be more promising over the next 25 years.
The pandemic has given a boost to drone start-ups, with state governments using their services for drug delivery, Covid-19 vaccines, disinfecting public spaces and surveillance. Additionally, central and state ministries and industry players have intensified experiments on the use of drones for ground surveying, disaster management, law enforcement, aerial surveillance and agricultural activities since 2020.
With the aim of becoming a global drone hub by 2030, India announced in August 2021 a new policy ecosystem for the domestic drone industry. , the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Certification Scheme, the Drone Import Policy and, most recently, the Drone (Amendment) Rules 2022, which state that remote pilot certificates will not be required for fly small to medium sized drones up to 2 kg for non-commercial purposes.
While drone manufacturing is still in its infancy, the Drone Rules 2021 foresee an increase in manufacturing in India, it has also clarified specific areas where drones can fly in our cities. The upcoming Digital Sky platform will make this even clearer.
Smarter cars on Indian roads
While a driverless car on an Indian road may be a distant dream, it’s definitely on the cards for the next 25 years. In 2018, Mahindra & Mahindra introduced an autonomous tractor, stating that it intended to develop fully autonomous tractors in the future.
However, making a self-driving car in India requires millions of miles of real-world data and algorithms tailored to Indian driving conditions. Currently, no Indian automaker has announced plans to build such vehicles.
That said, electric vehicles (EVs) are on the cards, with companies like Maruti announcing plans to put EVs on the road by 2025. Others, like Hyundai, Kia and MG are already selling EVs in the world. countries as well, while startups like Ola Electric also make electric scooters.
Although electric vehicles are primarily automobiles, they use a lot more technology than our regular fuel vehicles. In the future, cars will have more sensors, collect more data about how we drive and integrate more services – like payments etc.
A good example of where things are headed is the MG Astor, launched in India in August last year. In an interview with TechCircle at the time, Rajeev Chaba, Chairman and CEO of MG Motors, said it was the first car in India to use blockchain technology. The car uses a blockchain-based system to take driving data and use it to determine the resale value of the car, insurance premiums and more. It is also equipped with a personal AI (artificial intelligence) assistant.
Indian consumers are also feeling the burden of rising fuel prices, which could increase interest in electric vehicles. Major players in this segment are Tata Motors, MG Motor, BYD, Audi, BMW, Hyundai, and Mahindra & Mahindra
According to the latest data shared by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) on its online portal Dashboard Vahan, currently, 13,92,265 EVs ply Indian roads, of which EVs account for 5.58% share. It showed that in the first half of 2022, sales of electric vehicles represented a 3.5 times increase compared to the same period last year and that the cumulative sale of electric cars in July 2022 amounted to 4,445 units.
Take a quantum leap
Quantum computing has always been a thunderbolt for the tech industry as a whole, and India is also aiming to make its mark in this future.
During the Union Budget 2020, the country announced a ₹8,000 crore national mission on quantum technologies and applications. In August last year, the company also announced a quantum simulator (QSim), with which it aims to help quantum computing research. The companies also plan to develop a 50-qubit quantum computer by 2026, joining a growing number of countries such as Australia and Israel seeking to foster wider adoption of the nascent technology.