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Where Are They Now? – Kailash Nagarajan, Siemens Digital Industries Software

Today we are talking to Kailash Nagarajan from Siemens Digital Industries Software. Kailash was very active in co-curricular activities at his time at Amrita University (2015 – 2019) and also was a founding member of the Robotics Club.

What did you learn in the co-curricular activities during your time at university?


MATLAB just made my work easier. In my projects, I used it majorly for modeling and analyzing systems and control techniques.


Why did you choose to start the robotics club?

I have been always curious to learn new skills and always had a orientation towards robotics even before joining my undergraduate institute.  In fact, I won the Regional Indian Robotics Olympiad in my higher secondary school days. This was due to the right guidance and mentorship of my teachers in my early school days.

I strongly believed that, as students, we must get together, share the knowledge that we have and learn from each other. Hence I, along with a couple more fellow students who shared a similar thought process, took the first step to create a platform for robotics enthusiasts from various departments to get together and work as a team as the Robotics club.

What was your role on the club?

Being the founding member of the club is always a responsibility since how you craft the club it is probably how the club is going to be shaped in the later years. Hence, I tried to work on various domains ranging from drones to self balancing robots.

I was introduced to MATLAB by a senior in my institute. And, from then on MATLAB just made my work easier. In my projects, I used it majorly for modeling and analyzing systems and control techniques.

For example, we decided to design a self balancing robot from scratch. We used a few acrylic sheets, wooden blocks, an Arduino and an IMU sensor. We modelled the behavior of this system using Simulink. We actually designed the transfer function of the system and then used PID Tuner to tune the parameters of the controller to help us calculate various parameters like the rise time, fall time and settling time. The simulations were one of the reasons why we could understand our system a lot better. Also, we completely skipped the toughest part – tuning our controller; the PID tuner did it for us.

How did you use MATLAB and/or Simulink in the academic/co-curricular work?

I did use MATLAB in my club activities like I mentioned above. Along with this, I worked on a project where we simulated the vibrations of a cantilever beam without and with defects. We applied Dynamic Mode Decomposition (pure data-driven modeling technique)  to compute the spatial modes of vibration in each case. We also trained a Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier with the computed Eigen-modes to identify defects. We did all of this using MATLAB. I also have a publication on this work.

Along with this, I also worked as a Research assistant in International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad where I worked on drones for model predictive control for collision avoidance using MATLAB.  My work majorly involved motion planning and optimal control problems for single and multi agent systems, again, using MATLAB.

How did the co-curricular activities help you find a job?


The co-curricular activities played a major role to train me for an industry and give me extensive knowledge in my field.


Do you think the skills you gained using these tools has helped you in your professional career? If so, how?

A lot of what they teach in a closed classroom is merely equations and theory; the exposure to the application of this theory and math comes with the help of the co-curricular activities. During my undergraduate times, I also worked at a startup and gained great experience in the fields of basic computer vision, machine learning, etc.

I introduced myself to more advanced control techniques like model predictive control and optimal control using MATLAB which helped me a lot in my later times.

The co-curricular activities played a major role to train me for an industry and give me extensive knowledge in my field.

Did your hands-on experience help to prepare you for your first role in industry?

Yes, the hands on experience that I gained from my time at the Robotics Club, at the startup and at International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad has made a lot of difference to the way I approach a problem. It helps me analyze and breakdown problems and find simple, effective, and quick solutions.

I could do the projects a lot more comfortably because I already had experience in MATLAB on the domains.

I strongly believe every student has to get some sort of  hands-on exposure in the area they want to choose. This has greatly helped my role in the industry.

What are you working on today?

In your current role at Siemens do you use MATLAB and/or Simulink?

I currently work as an associate engineer in the Engineering Services group at Siemens Digital Industries Software. I get an opportunity to use MATLAB/Simulink on certain projects.

What big project you are working on right now?

The Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems project for Auto OEM is one of the bigger projects I am working on right now. We are using MATLAB and Simulink for the simulation of trajectory tracking using Model Predictive Control. And, I believe my experience of working with MPC in my student life is helping me a lot here. In this project, we also explored Simulink Real time for XPC targets for real time analysis of our Simulink model.

Key Takeaways


In all my years as a student if there is one thing that I strongly learnt to build on is my level of curiosity to learn and adapt to new things and situations.


What advice would you give young engineers seeking employment post-graduation?

Develop curiosity to solve problems. In all my years as a student if there is one thing that I strongly learnt to build on is my level of curiosity to learn and adapt to new things and situations. Be excited to solve puzzles and keep exploring what your passion is and what you really like to do.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Along with the curiosity and passion, some amount of hardwork will always keep your clock ticking and you will eventually land in a job/place you want to be in. Invest time in yourself, to improve your skills; even if they do not help you now, they certainly will at some point of time. And, you will thank yourself for it later!

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