Ola Launches Fellowship Program for IIT Bombay AI Researchers

Ola's Fellowship Program at IIT Bombay serves as a catalyst for innovation, sparking an AI revolution that promises to reshape India's technological landscape.


In a significant stride towards fostering technological innovation and nurturing talent in India, Ola, led by founder and chairman Bhavish Aggarwal, has announced the launch of a pioneering fellowship program.

This initiative marks Ola’s foray into the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space and aims to catalyze the development of cutting-edge technologies through collaboration with the brightest minds at one of India’s premier institutions, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay).

The announcement, made on February 4, unveils the Ola Technology Fellowship program, which is poised to make a profound impact on the landscape of AI research and development in the country.

With a vision to leverage India’s immense potential as a technological powerhouse, Ola is committed to nurturing a talent pool capable of spearheading innovation on a global scale.

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What is the Ola Technology Fellowship Program?

The Ola Technology Fellowship program is a paid opportunity for selected students from top engineering institutions in India to conduct cutting-edge research in AI and related domains. The program will commence with AI researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, one of the premier institutes in the country and Aggarwal’s alma mater.

“Today, India is at the ground zero of a massive technological revolution. And we, at Ola, will do everything it takes to develop a robust talent pool and future technologies out of India, for the world,”

~ Ola founder and chairman Bhavish Aggarwal, who is also an alumnus of IIT Bombay.

The program will span across various engineering disciplines, such as computer science, electrical, mechanical, aerospace, and civil engineering. The fellows will work on real-world problems and challenges faced by Ola and its customers, such as mobility, safety, efficiency, and sustainability. They will also collaborate with Ola’s in-house experts and mentors, as well as faculty members from IIT Bombay and other institutions.

The program will offer the fellows a chance to apply their theoretical knowledge and skills to practical scenarios, and also gain exposure to the industry and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The fellows will also receive a stipend and other benefits from Ola, such as access to its data, infrastructure, and network.

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Why is Ola Investing in AI Research?

Ola is not new to the AI space. The company has been using AI and machine learning to enhance its services and operations, such as driver and rider matching, dynamic pricing, route optimization, fraud detection, and customer support. Ola has also ventured into new domains, such as electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and cloud kitchens, where AI plays a crucial role.

Aggarwal, who is an IIT Bombay alumnus in computer science engineering, said that he wants to inspire and support more students and researchers to remain in the field of technology and pursue their passion and ideas.

He said that when he graduated in 2008, there were not many opportunities in the core technology field in India, and many of his classmates had to go abroad or join other sectors, such as trading, consulting, or investment. That the times are changing, and Ola is determined to be part of this change. He said that if anyone has an idea in the technology domain that can change the world, Ola will fund them and support them.

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Empowering India’s Tech Ecosystem with Krutrim

One of the ideas that Ola is backing is Krutrim, a ‘made in India’ large language model and generative AI platform, developed by Aggarwal’s own AI startup, Krutrim Si Design. Krutrim, which means ‘artificial’ in Sanskrit, is India’s first AI language model that can understand and generate text in multiple Indian languages, and also reflect India’s cultural and linguistic diversity.

Aggarwal said that Krutrim is his vision of creating India’s AI for 1.4 billion Indians. He said that current AI models cannot capture India’s uniqueness and context, and that is why India needs its own AI. He said that Krutrim will help solve real-world problems and challenges faced by Ola and its customers, as well as by the society at large.

Read More: Krutrim Emerges as the India’s First AI Unicorn in 2024 – techovedas

Takeaways from this move of OLA

Bridging the Brain Drain Gap: India grapples with a significant brain drain, with talented minds often seeking opportunities abroad. Moreover,his program acts as a countermeasure, offering exceptional researchers and innovators a compelling reason to stay and contribute to India’s growth.

Building a Global Reputation: As the program gains recognition, it can position Ola as a global leader in nurturing AI talent. This enhanced reputation can attract international collaborations, investments, and partnerships, propelling them further on the global stage.

Shaping Public Perception: By supporting academia and research, Ola sheds the image of being solely profit-driven. This fosters a more positive public perception, portraying them as an organization invested in the betterment of society and the advancement of knowledge.

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The Ola Technology Fellowship program is a rare and exciting opportunity for both Ola and the fellows, and also for the AI community and the society at large. The program has the potential to create and showcase some of the best and brightest minds and ideas in AI and related fields, and to make a positive and lasting impact on the world. As Aggarwal said, “Technology is the way to create an impact on humanity.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
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