Grab has opened a new research and development (R&D) centre in Kuala Lumpur. This will be its seventh facility and first in Malaysia.
Grab having doubled its tech headcount since the end of 2017 to almost 2,000 employees, it plans to hire for another 1,000 tech roles next year.
This includes 100 hires in KL, comprising software engineers, data scientists and data analysts.
Ditesh Gathani: “By setting up an R&D centre in Malaysia, we want to play a part in developing deep tech talent in the country, particularly in areas like machine learning,” says Grab’s head of engineering Ditesh Gathani.
Existing R&D centres are in these six cities: Bangalore, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Seattle and Singapore.
The Role of KL team
The KL team will focus on developing and enhancing real-time communications features such as:
- VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls via GrabChat
- building new Web products
- improving and developing new safety measures through machine learning.
Here’s a notable example, there will be a “driver fatigue” feature that advises drivers to take a break if their fatigue score (based on several factors such as driving hours, age, rest between shifts, etc) is too high.
Grab said the new centre would support its growth and evolution as it moves to become “the first everyday super app in Southeast Asia”
While the R&D focus remains on core transport projects, the growth of the tech team will fuel development of GrabPlatform, a suite of APIs (application programming interfaces) for partners to integrate their services with Grab.
It is also boosting AI capabilities to utilise its dataset not just for service provision, but for tackling issues such as congestion and financial inclusion.