Remember our recent story on congestion tax? We told you that Bengaluru’s traffic moves at less than 4 km an hour during peak times in IT zones. It’s crazy! But maybe Google has another solution to that problem. And it doesn’t involve a tax or fee. It involves the latest buzzword ― AI (artificial intelligence).
See, Google says that when traffic lights dance between red, amber and green signals, the start-stop movements of vehicles lead to a 29x increase in emissions than on open roads. But the Big Tech thinks it has a solution. It calls it Project Green Light.
It plans to track traffic from its maps using AI and control traffic signals in such a way that vehicles move more than they stutter. This won’t just reduce emissions but could also cut down traffic jams. Cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata have already begun experimenting with Project Green Light. And apparently, they don’t need to put in more money to integrate this tech into their traffic lights. It just works with existing infrastructure too.
Sounds cool no?
But yup, data tracking is something that a lot of people seem to hate these days. So that could make the idea not so cool. What do you think?
Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵
Kaafir by Bir, Dhanju and Daaku
Thanks for the rec, Tanishq Goel!
A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀
Can the Chetak create another magic?
Bajaj Auto says that the Chetak now holds an 11% share in the e2W (electric two-wheeler) market. It’s a big jump from the 4% share they had at the end of FY23. And this minor success could evoke some nostalgia if you’re a millennial.
You see, the Chetak was one of those 2-wheelers that changed how Indians commuted. Back in the day, you’d see entire families of 4 riding on it, albeit not too comfortably. But that was the need of the Indian middle class at that time ― a vehicle that was practical, not too expensive and helped everyone in the family move together. So how did the Chetak fit into that mould?
During the 1940s, Piaggio created the Vespa. A couple of decades later Bajaj obtained a licence from Piaggio to sell Vespas in India. But in 1972 this license expired. And Bajaj didn’t renew it. Instead, it built a replica of the sturdily built Vespa Sprint. Bajaj called it ‘Chetak’, inspired by the horse ridden by Maharana Pratap, the 16th-century ruler of Mewar.
And the Chetak lived up to its name. It could withstand all kinds of terrains and required minimal maintenance. Even if it broke down, you’d see riders tilt their Chetaks. They’d literally tilt the vehicle to the right to reinstate fuel supply back to the engine . Or tilt to the left to shake up the fuel-air mixture to spark ignition.
Yup! That’s how you quick-fixed a scooter back then. It was economical. And Indians loved it. Bajaj started selling 1 lakh scooters per month. The demand was so high that it was in short supply. Those were the days of the License Raj. And automakers were only allowed to produce a maximum of 25% more than their licensed capacity. So, the waiting period to own a Chetak even went up to 10 years!
Rahul Bajaj, the CEO and one of the pioneers of Bajaj Auto fought to get a license to expand capacity. And the Chetak enjoyed decades of success in India. But enter two-wheelers sans the gears and clutch with the added advantage of push-start functions, and the magic of the Chetak began to fade away.
Now, the thing here is that Chetak’s success then was because of its first mover advantage in practical commute. Cut to today, technology is evolving quickly. EVs are becoming a rage. People want more out of them. They want more mileage and reduced charging times. The Chetak EV is trying to ride that wave. It also has the added advantage of the nostalgic factor and is a pop culture icon too.
Could that push its market share up a notch again? You tell us.
Dr Reddy’s Labs wants you to lose weight?
Dr Reddy's Laboratories, a leading pharma company, just received a go-ahead to study Semaglutide, a weight loss drug. And although India has a lot of weight loss drugs, there’s something special about this one.
You see, Semaglutide helps shed 10-15 kilos if taken as an injection. It’s supposed to be better than the other drugs in the market. It’s sold in India already too by a Danish pharma company called Novo Nordisk. But the only problem? It’s expensive and is prescribed for diabetes, not weight loss. Let us explain.
Semaglutide is actually an active ingredient in a drug that slows digestion. So it keeps you feeling full for long. It also treats diabetes. So Novo Nordisk has two distinct drugs which use Semaglutide as the key active ingredient. The one that treats type 2 diabetes is marketed as Ozempic and the one which helps lose weight is called Wegovy. And Novo Nordisk owns the patents to these formulations. Now, India doesn’t have the weight loss injectable yet. What it has is Novo’s diabetes pill called Rybelsus. It only plans to release Wegovy in India by 2026.
And the reason Dr Reddy’s wants to launch this popular weight loss drug before Novo Nordisk is because this drug created waves of demand in Europe. The demand went up so much that a couple of days ago, Novo Nordisk even became the most valuable European listed firm, briefly surpassing even LVMH (Louis Vuitton). In fact, Novo Nordisk expects its full-year sales and operating profits to be up by 32-38% over the previous year thanks to the popularity of this weight loss drug. Earlier it had estimated this growth to be 27-33%.
So, if Dr Reddy’s is able to conduct its effectiveness and safety study, it hopes to release this drug in the market within a year. Currently, it sits at #2 in the list of most valuable listed pharmaceuticals in India. Maybe this drug could take it to the top, if not the most valuable company in India? After all, obesity is increasing at a fast clip here, and we’re already known as the world’s diabetes capital.
But can Dr Reddy’s reverse engineer the drug with Semaglutide and avoid a legal battle involving patents with Novo Nordisk? We’ll have to wait and see.
Also, remember that these drugs could have their own side effects. So please make sure you consult a doctor before taking any medication and share this story responsibly.
Jargon of the day ✏️
Money tips 💰
The Passion Principle
Choosing the right career is a challenge. You could be stuck between a well paying job that doesn’t interest you too much and a job that you could be passionate that may pay less. It’s financial security versus passion.
So what do you choose? Money or love?
Well, the passion principle may be one way to answer this question. It simply refers to the cultural idea of sacrificing job security or higher pay to follow your passion. But there’s a problem with this principle as author Erin Cech puts it in her book The Trouble With Passion.
Cech is an associate professor and director of undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan. She’s actually an electrical engineer on paper. But chose to follow her passion in sociology. Over the years she learnt that this may not be the best choice for everybody and coined the term ‘passion principle’. Through her research she found that following your passion as a career creates a bias. It only favours the rich kids who have the springboard to give up on high paying job opportunities and wait for something that they’re really passionate about.
Her research points that over 75% of college students and 67% of college-educated workers rated the importance of passion-related factors more highly than either job security or salary. But only 37% were able to launch into stable jobs or promising graduate programs within their desired sphere.
In fact, things you’re passionate about can change over time. And AI’s the word now. It could do a lot of creative stuff tomorrow that humans can do today. So you might really need to be extremely good at what you love in terms of a career perspective.
That’s why you must think long and hard before jumping the gun. Check and evaluate all the options you have in front of you and then decide what floats your boat.
Readers Recommend 🗒️
Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
Our reader Nidhi Dhanani is on fire! She has another book recommendation for us. It explores how computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives. And it sure sounds interesting. Thanks Nidhi!
Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩
Missed our quiz last week? Don’t worry, we’re back!
Here’s your chance to grab the winner’s crown. Click on this 👉🏽 link, answer all the questions correctly and tune in next week to check if you got lucky.
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