Culture and Values, India, Responsible Business

CSR projects are the pivotal points around which the core Jaguar Land Rover values rotate

Can the progress of an individual happen without the collective advancement of the society? The answer to all these questions is “No”. In this era of cut-throat competition, excessive workloads and constant endeavour to complete daily targets, Jaguar Land Rover has not forgotten that there is a world around as well. Realizing that it has a social responsibility towards the underprivileged sections of the society and the environment where we reside, Jaguar Land Rover, through its various projects, is trying its best to promote environmental sustainability and community support.

If we have a cursory glance over the CSR policies of Jaguar Land Rover India, it can be stated that the corpus spent by the organisation on CSR activities annually, includes at least 2 percent of the average net profits made during the three immediately preceding financial years. Also, the periodic review and monitoring of CSR Policy implementation is in the hands of Governance structure. This structure comprises of Jaguar Land Rover India Board and CSR Board Committee. CSR projects are the pivotal points around which the core Jaguar Land Rover values like integrity, understanding, responsibility, unity and excellence rotate.

From crates to classrooms

The CSR Program is not restricted to any particular domain, instead it aims to contribute something in diverse spheres like Education, Health, Environment and Employability. “From Crates to Classrooms” is one of the brilliant examples of the projects undertaken by Jaguar Land Rover India, Pune. This project is a big justice to the goals of environmental sustainability and social support. Various parts of cars that arrive in wooden skids or pallets at the manufacturing centre are converted into the classroom desks by local carpenters.

Till now, several hundreds of desks have been manufactured and donated to approximately seven educational centers, in and around Pune. Young school children are also invited sometimes to have the manufacturing plant tour. This is yet again another attempt by the organization to ignite the potential inside these young minds and inspire them to achieve great things in life.

Making our ecosystem a bit greener

Jaguar Land Rover India has contributed hugely to making our ecosystem a bit greener. Close to 400 trees in Khadakwasla dam catchment area and around 200 trees in Baner, a suburb in Maharashtra have been planted. JLR has also actively participated in the “Khadakwasla dam cleaning project” initiated by NGO named Green Thumb. This project aimed to address the problem of silt accumulation in the dam due to soil erosion. Around 60 percent of the dam was filled with silt leading to reduced water storage capacity.

Sachin Bendre, HR Business partner of Jaguar Land Rover India Operations cites, “We have a plan to plant more than 1 lakh trees. Now people go to the dam on weekends as a nice picnic spot and plant trees there which is a great learning for the young generation.” He also strongly recommends, “we can launch a philanthropic initiative where every employee of Jaguar Land Rover can donate some amount to CSR fund on his/her birthday for planting trees, thereby adding some more oxygen to the environment.”

Improving local schools

The list doesn’t end here. Jaguar Land Rover India has identified 26 schools in Bhor district of Pune and built urinals and washrooms there with a promise from the schools’ administration that proper maintenance will be done from their end. Besides this, many schools have also been painted by our employees themselves.

Another stirring feat of Jaguar Land Rover India is the initiative of groundwater recharge in Pashan area in Baner. Wells used to run dry in the 70 feet high rock area as water percolation was a tough challenge here. Jaguar Land Rover India along with Municipal Corporation played a crucial role in building contours along the mountainous region and drilling multiple borewells. In a period of mere 5 months, natural filtration and refilling occurred, studding yet another bead in the success garland of Jaguar Land Rover India. Sachin Bendre states, “We can start an education program on rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge. More borewells can also be built.”

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give

The fact cannot be denied that CSR Activities have provided a golden opportunity to all the employees of Jaguar Land Rover India to contribute something towards the society, environment and country which gives a boost to their self-pride and satisfaction. It is a matter of honour for them to be a part of such organisation which has pledged to lift the downtrodden strata of the society. Jaguar Land Rover India has not undertaken CSR Activities just to gain publicity, instead it has accepted CSR as a business imperative wholeheartedly. Jaguar Land Rover not just preaches but takes efforts in the direction of actualising the visions of being a societal change.

Electrical Engineering, Hungary, India, Powertrain, Shannon, Software, Technology

The inaugural Jaguar Land Rover GDD Hackathon

True to its name, it was indeed a global event with teams joining across all the GDD hubs in Gaydon, Manchester, Portland, Shannon, Hungary and India. The first stage of the competition kicked off with sourcing problem statements from all Jaguar Land Rover colleagues in May, and finally six problem statements were announced in June across the three domains – Electrical engineering, Power Electronics and Mechatronics.

Putting ourselves forward for the challenge

My teammates, Abhijith N Balan and Ronit Hire Jaisingh, and I are Software Engineers at Jaguar Land Rover India. We heard about the hackathon through word of mouth and decided to register for it. It would be our first hackathon since graduating from college two years ago and we were excited to get this chance to showcase our skills. With about a week to go for the registration deadline, we started having meetings to go through each problem statement in detail and choose the one that aligns with our vision the most. We found the HMI Navigation Testing problem statement intriguing and implementable in the near future in our cars. This was ideal since our prime goal was to help improve the customer experience we offer by solving real world technical problems. We also reckoned that it might have the most teams competing (which turned out to be correct), which was perfect since we were up for a challenge.

One of our last meetings leading up to the hackathon was to decide our team’s name for registration, which ran for over an hour (not our proudest moment) before we ended up finalizing “Chaotic Coyotes” (combined with our GitLab GraphRunner, a nod to the beloved childhood cartoon, the Road Runner). At the end of the meeting, we joked that this might be the longest meeting we have for the entire duration of the hackathon. If only we knew how wrong we were going to be!

The hackathon kicked off on 1st July at 12 noon BST

We realized that the deadline for the competition was the next day midnight for the UK, which was 4:30 am on a Saturday for us, far from ideal. At the start we felt our chances to complete in time looked bleak due to this fact. Nevertheless, we decided upon one thing – whenever one of us is working, he will join the teams meeting so that the others know about it. This probably turned out to be a game changer for us as over the next 36 hours we ended up with more than 25 hours of meetings! For our problem statement, we had to develop an algorithm that was capable of automating the HMI Validation of the car infotainment screen.

Given the home screen our algorithm had to ensure that we clicked on all buttons and visited all the available screens so that they can be tested, with two key factors deciding the quality of the solution – the efficiency and randomness. The algorithm needed to be efficient enough to not keep on repeatedly testing the same screens or buttons, and yet random enough to mimic the typical user’s behaviour where they might choose to visit certain screens more often than others. Balancing this trade-off would be crucial to developing an acceptable solution. I have my teammates to thank for coming up with ingenious approaches and a few clever workarounds which we stitched together and incorporated into one satisfactory solution.

The 36 hours of the hackathon for us were replete with all the clichés of a typical coding hackathon during our college days – sacrificing all sleep, forgetting meals sometimes, discovering a blunder less than an hour from the deadline and scrambling to correct it! Finally, at exactly 4:30 am on Saturday we submitted our solution and heaved a sigh of relief.

The presentation

After catching up on all the lost sleep over the weekend, we prepared for the next stage of the competition – the presentation. The judges had a lot of questions for us which we answered confidently and a few valuable inputs too which could add to our algorithm. We felt good about our chances after the presentation, but were mindful of the other teams too who undoubtedly would have brilliant solutions of their own. Before the results were declared we even got the chance to view the work done by all the other teams, and we found some strong contenders among those with quite efficient approaches.

Winning!

We were delighted to learn that our team was announced the winner, and excited when we were told about what lied ahead. Our implementation had impressed the judges and post the hackathon we have been working on bettering it and pitching to the senior management. We received quite positive feedback for our solution from the Chief Engineer (Software Validation & Integration) at Jaguar Land Rover and his team.

Recently, we also pitched our solution to the Elec & Systems Engineering Director who reviewed all the winning entries from the hackathon. In the next few weeks, we will be working on integrating our algorithm with the current testing strategy by the validation team for a PoC. All in all, it was an exhilarating experience for us. It was a commendable effort by the organizing committee to set this up from scratch and we hope to see our project come to fruition in our cars soon!

Siddharth Brahmbhatt, Software Engineer – ADAS