Kumardev Chatterjee: Building the Near-Futuristic Autonomous Economy with ‘AI for Autonomy …

Unmanned Life is a global, multi-award-winning, 5G Autonomy-as-a-Service company at the forefront of massive and transformative opportunities created by the rapidly increasing confluence of 5G, AI and Autonomy. Within four years, the company has built a flexible and extensible 5G standardized architecture and software platform to deploy large and flexible autonomous mixed swarms of different types of vehicles and drones working together seamlessly like autonomous robot teams for Industry 4.0 and Smart Cities use cases such as autonomous logistics, autonomous smart factories, autonomous public safety, autonomous transport management, and others. Unmanned Life’s goal is to be the default global 5G Autonomy-as-a-Service platform for telco operators deploying 5G Services for Industry 4.0 and Governments deploying 5G Smart Cities services for citizens. Just in the Q4 of 2019, the company has been chosen by the City of Vienna to build the world’s first 5G Autonomous Fire and Rescue Emergency service using Magenta Telekom’s 5G network and by Volkswagen-SEAT to build the world’s first 5G Smart Factory using Telefonica’s 5G network.

Large telco operators and equipment-makers like Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Orange, Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei are attracted to Unmanned Life’s standardized 5G architecture and technology stack as they see the potential to rapidly monetize their increasingly large 5G investments jointly with the company, providing enterprise customers like UPS, Volkswagen, Swiss Post, and others, with unique autonomous logistics and autonomous smart factories capabilities that leverage their 5G telco infrastructure and the company’s Autonomy-as-a-Service software platform. Governments at the forefront of the 5G revolution, like the US, UK, EU, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong, together with their major telco operators are equally counting on the company’s 5G standardized architecture and platform technology to rapidly deploy smart cities services like autonomous public safety and autonomous transport management. 

Supported by the highest levels of the British government, within a year of its market debut, Unmanned Life has engaged with leading Fortune 500 clients and partners in major markets, establishing a fast-growing presence across Europe, USA and now, Asia with offices in London, Brussels, San Francisco, and soon in Singapore. The company has scaled-up rapidly in 2019, recording 16x growth in revenue, closing a multi-million round of funding from global investors and cementing strategic partnerships with governments and major players in growth markets from the US to South Korea. Unmanned Life kicks off 2020 with a strong (over US$10 million) global pipeline. The company’s 17 highly skilled staff from over 9 nationalities have been educated at the world’s top schools and together have acquired more than 100 years of combined deep Computer Science, AI, Robotics, Autonomous Systems, and Telco expertise as well as tech, business, and management experience at some of the world’s leading companies before joining Unmanned Life to create a powerhouse team.

A Seasoned and Recognized Serial Expert and Entrepreneur in Technology

Kumardev Chatterjee, Co-Founder, and CEO of Unmanned Life is a highly-regarded serial tech innovator and entrepreneur, British Chevening Science Scholar and computer scientist from University College London. He has also been an expert on Entrepreneurship at the World Economic Forum since 213 and awarded as a Young Innovation Luminary by INTEL and the European Union. New York Times published Kumardev as a thought leader. Moreover, he is the co-author of ‘Digital Minds for a New Europe’ alongside Vint Cerf, Eric Schmidt, and other world-leading experts. 

The European Commission appointed him as expert and advisor on various Tech and Innovation subjects and he has been inducted in 2019 into the prestigious Progress 1000 List as the 3rd most influential person in Technology: Engineering in London. 

Kumardev had the honor at this early age of 40 to be invited by his alma mater University College London to deliver the commencement speech to the 2019 engineering graduates.

He is also the Co-Founder and Chairman of the European Young Innovators Forum, the leading foundation for youth innovation in Europe, whose work has been recognized by President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Angela Merkel, amongst other leaders and by institutions like the World Economic Forum.

Kumardev started as an entrepreneur at 14, building a social business, the proceeds of which were donated to Mother Teresa. He built his first tech company at 19 and has over 20 years of experience spanning vision and strategy, executive leadership and deep tech at and for Fortune 500 enterprises and major organizations across the world.

Kumardev has been invited to speak and present at leading institutions and high-level forums across the world including the United Nations, World Economic Forum, US State Department, London School of Business, Standford University, European Parliament, European Commission, Office of Chancellor Angela Merkel, State of Europe high-level roundtable, Kauffman Foundation’s Global Innovation Summit, IEEE and major conferences like NOAH, Web Summit, CeBIT, Mobile World Congress.

Achieving Success as Young Innovator

Kumardev has been on an entrepreneurial and technology visionary journey since age 7 when he wrote his first video-game in MS-DOS (ancient Microsoft operating system). At the age of 14, he set up his first entrepreneurial venture, a social business, the proceeds of which were donated to Mother Teresa and at the age of 19, he established his first tech company; by that stage he had already completed a stint as Adobe’s youngest employee globally. According to Kumardev, the key lessons that have shaped his journey are: it’s a journey, not a destination; the road going up is the same one that goes back down and most important, one must focus on creating impact, not wealth, through vision, thought-leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship.   

Overcoming Initial Business Challenges

For Kumardev, the primal challenges were all about securing the right people to join him in building his vision into reality, fundraising without a product or even a prototype, meeting expectations of early customers, partners and of course ensuring that the company survives the 18-month valley of death, which have all been overcome today

Strengthened Pillars of an Innovative Leadership

The first and most vital attribute of any leader, and in particular an innovative leader, according to Kumardev, is a strong ‘Vision Leadership’, without which the word ‘innovation’ rings hollow. An equally vital attribute of any leader is ‘People Leadership’ i.e. the ability to inspire people with their vision, attract people to their cause and team and maintain strong people relationships over time and different stages. Finally, a leader and in particular an innovative leader must possess ‘Learning Leadership’ which means an enormous capacity and dogged willingness to learn every day. The combination of these three leadership attributes is critical for the execution of the vision, build and growth of the company.

Serving a Wide Cross-Section of Audiences

Unmanned Life is strongly customer and use case focused and its innovation process is done hand-in-hand with its customers and partners. The company is an autonomy-first innovator that solves a problem that is ubiquitous across industries: to automate, orchestrate and integrate robotic workforces within an enterprise, where hybrid robotic fleets communicate and collaborate with each other, much like a human workforce. Kumardev feels this is not a specific solution to a niche problem, this addresses a much larger issue within enterprise systems: the ability (or lack thereof) of fragmented solutions and systems to communicate with each other. This solution can be applied to any number of robot-centric applications such as Smart Factories, Smart Cities, Public Safety and when all of this is put together, it becomes very appealing for Unmanned Life’s target audience.

Potential of 5G, AI and Autonomy Shaping the Industrial Revolution

5G, AI and Machine Learning are not just impacting innovation today; they are at the core of innovation in the upcoming Autonomous Economy. According to Kumardev, “Autonomy is the one thing that will tie it all in, as we make this transition, to enable Intelligent Autonomous Systems in various industries, over 5G networks.” This is huge in terms of disruption, like another industrial revolution taking shape. The role of leaders today is therefore much more nuanced than before; first and foremost a leader has to accept that they need to learn and adapt to this new reality before they can lead others through it.

Future Lies with the Autonomous Economy 

Kumardev believes, “The Future is Autonomous. We are at the beginning of the Autonomous Economy, driven by the convergence of fast communication technologies like 5G, increasingly human-like AI and intelligent Drones, Vehicles and Robots.” Unmanned Life’s Autonomy-as-a-Service is designed to enable this Autonomous Economy for all. The company sees itself as being at the heart of the Autonomous Economy, and its platform as the main facilitator of autonomous services and deployments in different verticals.

An Advice to Drop Old Notions

“We are once again at the crossroads of significant technology-driven change; the next industrial revolution that will be the Autonomous Economy. We are also in the midst of a very damaging process of rapid climate change. It is time to drop old notions and ideas about how companies, people, societies, and economies work and think outside the norm. Think Autonomy, think Clean and think Superfast. That’s my advice to myself and others like me,” says Kumardev while advising the budding business leaders.

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