India test bed for key innovations: Uber India's Pradeep Parameswaran

Topics Uber India | Uber | cab aggregators

Pradeep Parameswaran President, Uber, India & South Asia
Pradeep Parameswaran, President, Uber, India & South Asia, talks to Surajeet Das Gupta about the challenges he faced and India’s R&D capability. Edited excerpts:

What have been your key challenges in running Uber India?

When I took over as president of India SA in 2018, one of our biggest challenges was to build a multi-modal platform for bringing the benefits of lower transportation costs and better utilisation. In 2019, we grew our rider base by 25 per cent to over 14 million weekly trips. India continues to be a long-term growth driver for Uber and one of its most strategic global markets. We will remain committed to building a robust product mix of hyperlocal innovations such as auto and moto to address the unique challenges of India’s mobility landscape.

How much has R&D shifted to India? What have been the key achievements here? 

India is an important hub or a laboratory for Uber’s R&D. It’s a test bed for adapting key innovations from India for other emerging markets at scale. Recently, our engineering team in Hyderabad provided support to onboard restaurants for UberEats globally by using computer vision and machine learning (ML). India also has the lead in designing our High Capacity Vehicle initiative for providing affordable rides to millions across the world.  Some other product innovations, such as payments in cash and Uber Lite (space-saving app), have been successfully exported from India. Last year we announced we would double our headcount to 1,000 employees in our tech centres in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

How is India similar yet different from other markets? Where was India for Uber when you joined and where is it now? 

We have begun to scratch the surface of the transport system in India, where a majority do not move in AC cars. As we embark on our journey, especially in these challenging times of a global pandemic, safer and low-cost transport options such as Auto, Moto, Public Transport, and High-Capacity Vehicles will unlock value for millions of Indians. India will remain a key player for driving Uber’s growth.

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