I Spent Last Summer Trying To Find A Way To Use AI To Prevent Car Accidents

Posted by Uddeshya Mishra in Campus Watch
April 11, 2018

Internships are a great way for students to acquire hands-on practical training, updating existing knowledge and building on their skills.

But it’s often also the time when your batchmates will ask you questions like, “Aur bhai, internship ka kya scene hai? Kahaan se kar raha hai? Kar bhi raha hai ya nahi?” (What’s your scene with internships? Where are you doing it from? Are you doing one at all?) And then, you ask your seniors whether you should be doing an internship or prepare for placements, and the discussion goes on.

And then I began looking for an internship.

The first step was to prepare a good email draft that I could send to a lot of companies. The next step is to be patient, and wait. One also has to prepare oneself for many rejections. I was lucky to have received a positive response from the first batch of emails I sent.

I had heard my seniors mention that it was a difficult place to get into and I took it as a challenge and aimed at cracking the interview. I took my time and went back to everything I had done in college in the last three years so that I had all the answers ready when it was time. The telephonic interview lasted for about 45 minutes, and I had to answer a lot of questions in great detail. I did falter in the beginning but a sudden adrenaline boost of wanting to do this well pushed me, and I spoke loquaciously.

The Company

I was selected for the internship, and I was really fortunate to have landed a two-month long stint at such a reputed research and development company.

I moved to Gurugram and started my new ‘short’ journey that was filled with new experiences. The office was really nice. The best part was that coffee was available all the time. Throughout the office, there were robots on the move, driverless vehicles, different kinds of demo machinery, testing labs and a big R&D workspace. The environment at Hi-Tech was really very supportive, understanding and cooperative. It really did feel like the company was expanding and was competing globally.

The company has around 300 employees, more than 50 patents and around 350+ Active Deployments of Autonomous & Driver Assistive Systems. It’s one of the few companies in India that’s working in the field of advanced robotics, computer vision, motion planning, machine learning and sensor fusion technologies. Their mission, as they say, is to deliver scalable, smart autonomous & assistive systems to global customers through disruptive business models enriching ‘Human Life through Smart Robotics’.

The Starting Days

On my first day at Hi-Tech, my team leader got me comfortable once I got in. It was something else though when he got to explaining the technical aspects of the internship, I lost track of him at one point and just kept nodding my head and saying, “yes sir, yes sir”. I had to Google all the technical terms that he threw at me.

My first few days at the internship were spent in wondering about how good these people were at their work. They knew what they were doing, and they knew how to do it. For me, the internship started off well because I had the support of a senior member of the team who helped me out with most of my queries. It would upset me when I got stuck somewhere but they always said, “Kaise nahi hoga, laao idhar” and help me out. Within a short span of time, I got better at my project and they were impressed with my performance.

How It Ended

I worked in the ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) division, and I was asked to develop a graphical user interface that compiles their entire work into one pipeline. It was a great learning experience for me. I worked on the GUI application of Contextual Driver Awareness/Alertness Detection System as part of the project using a state of the art machine learning based system, contextual intelligence connected with fleet management, vehicle telematics to enable driver profiling and coaching for safe driving. I drove a driving simulation, just like Need For Speed, but for work. There was also a pool table, and I enjoyed perfecting my game through the course of the internship.

My internship at Hi-Tech has taught me more than I could have imagined. I learnt a lot regarding advanced and contemporary topics like Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, deep learning, and more. I understand technology much better than I did before. It has changed the way I think of the world as well as myself. I have a better understanding of my skill set, and I can now think of the possible paths I can take, hereon. I know that if I continue to work hard, things will fall into place.

The company is doing great work in India. It would, however, be even better if there were more opportunities for fresh graduates to take up full-time work at Hi-Tech, especially the interns who spend a sizeable amount of their time contributing to the projects there.