[caption id="attachment_104011" align="aligncenter" width="700"]roshy_john_team Dr. Roshy John (in center) with his team[/caption]

"If you have passion, you can achieve anything." This particular saying fits perfectly to Dr. Roshy John, who heads Robotics and Cognitive Systems at Tata Consultancy Services in Kochi. The tech junkie is currently getting noticed in the tech world for an invention he did in his spare time.

Dr. John has built a self-driving Tata Nano. Not only this, a modular system used to achieve the feat can be retrofitted in any car in just over an hour.

According to John, he was intrigued to try his hand at the project because of a situation he faced in his real life. One fine evening, while returning from a trip he called for a taxi at the airport in order to reach home safe and sound. To his astonishment the taxi's driver was more exhausted and sleepy than he was. So, instead of taking the risk and letting him drive, John decided to get behind the wheels himself. This little incident inspired the techie in him to use his skills and capabilities to build an autonomous vehicle.



Having a strong background in robotics, John thought that is the area he would like to explore to find a solution to the problem. He then decided to select the Tata Nano for his project. According to him, the reason for this was manifold. Firstly, Nano is a cost efficient model and secondly, it has a rear engine which makes adding actuators and sensors to the front of the Nano much easier.

After the car was finalised for the project, John and his skilful team did a complete simulation along with the virtual simulation of the car in order to ensure the concept works properly. Further, in order to make the car equipped to the city environment, they decided to add cameras to the rear of the cars and make changes to their algorithms to according to the results received.

Once John and his team were happy with the results they got during their first test drive, they decided to accommodate the cameras, sensors and actuators in a newly purchased Tata Nano car. The main hurdle here was to replicate the real life model of simulation which was earlier achieved by them. Once that was done, they started testing the system in the real world.

During the tests, it was revealed that simulation automatically assumed the car would have an automatic transmission system. But, the Nano they were using had manual transmission. Hence, in order to solve this major problem, John and his team decided to build a manual automatic transmission system that would help in mapping the simulated model with the Nano.

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