BENGALURU: Ola co-founder Ankit Bhati, 30, is also the chief technology officer of the cab aggregator.

He did BTech in mechanical engineering and MTech in CAD (computer aided design) and automation from IIT Bombay. Engineering, coding and data science continue to be his passion. In an interaction with TOI, Bhati talks about solutions coming out of Ola’s Innovation Labs :
What are the new initiatives you are excited about?

As we move to more and more small towns, we need to localize and we need to develop an infrastructure that ensures seamless connectivity between drivers, customers and Ola even in poorly connected areas. We’ve done a lot of work there. The driver-app is now available in eight Indian languages, including Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Punjabi, in addition to the English support. Ola Share is doing extremely well, and that’s because of the technology that handles the volumes, matches users and ensures optimal utilization of cab seats. The response to our Wi-Fi service has been phenomenal.

What have you done for seamless connectivity in poorly connected areas?

We launched a very unique SMS-App communication service. With the help of Google Play’s location service, we ensure we are always in touch with our drivers irrespective of their internet connection, which can drop out be cause of various reasons poor connectivity , out of recharge, etc. When the phone runs out of connectivity , our technology communicates with the driver through SMS – which could be for new booking near his location, billings, and other critical information.

It’s growing like crazy. It’s helping us unlock inventory – sell seats instead of an entire car.What I can say is that over the last eight months, Ola Share has helped keep more than 37 lakh vehicles off the road and more than 20 lakh litres of fuel has also been saved in seven cities across India.

You said Ola Share is doing very well. Can you give some data on that?

The assumptions that we have used to arrive at this data are quite conservative. Given the popularity and the scale of operations of Ola Share, the number of cars taken off the road, volume of fuel and the quantity of carbon emissions saved could be far higher. What’s the Wi-Fi usage?

 Over 200 terabytes (TB) of data is being consumed each month by users of Ola Prime (sedan & SUV service), the segment where we have introduced it. Some 65% of customers who chose Ola Prime connect to the in-cab wi-fi. The service will soon be available across all our categories including Micro, Mini and auto-rickshaws. We are also launching an auto-connect feature wherein a user can do a one-time authentication and then be automatically connected with Ola’s network whenever they take a ride. With this innovation, we expect a massive surge in Wi-Fi usage.

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