Where others see problems, Aditya Shanbhag sees opportunities – on the crowded streets of Mumbai, in the alleyways of Paris or in America's “Motor City” Detroit. There is one topic that is currently occupying all the global metropolises: the networked future of mobility. And who would be more likely to have a solution in his luggage than a world traveller like Aditya, or Adi for short, engineer and consultant at umlaut?
He grew up in Mumbai, but today he gives advice worldwide on the subject of "connected mobility" – which not only involves cars, says Adi, 'but also local and long-distance transport, flight routes and new mobility solutions.' His first video calls of the morning – he takes a quick look at the time zone map – are with projects and customers in the Asiatic region. When the working day there comes to an end, Adi goes out jogging. The afternoon is then devoted to his European customers. 'I don't mind having to get up early. In fact I really like the flexibility that working between the time zones gives me.'
Racing cars and wanderlust
It is his sense of optimism that inspires and motivates Adi’s colleagues and customers – and his hands-on expertise in his field. 'umlaut has a pull mentality. When I see a challenge, I can put up my hand and say, "Yes, I'd like to have a go at that!"' When he was still a student at the University of Pune in India, he built a Formula-style race car with fellow students for a student competition. Even today, he is still passionate about technology. But there is also another area that he is just as fascinated by: communications and people.
'What could be more exciting that moving to another country?' says Adi – getting to know a new culture and mentality. 'Not just being a visitor, but getting a real understanding of the country and its people. There isn't a list that you can work through in advance, you just have to throw yourself into the new situation and get on with it.' The first stop on his journey was Iowa State University in the year 2012. To do his master's degree, he not only left India but also his comfort zone. His first flight: 13,000 kilometres into the unknown. 'And perhaps the best decision I've ever made.'