Vis­teon to sup­port In­dia’s long drive to au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles: Amit Jain

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Vis­teon Cor­po­ra­tion is one of the lead­ers in the global au­to­mo­tive in­fo­tain­ment and au­to­ma­tion mar­ket. The re­cent­ly­launched Phoenix in­fo­tain­ment plat­form has driven it to fur­ther heights. Vis­teon In­dia, one of the largest Tier 1 com­pa­nies in the coun­try, is work­ing on var­i­ous new tech­nolo­gies and cost ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions. Amit Jain, Coun­try Head, Vis­teon In­dia, told Bhar­gav TS, the sit­u­a­tion that is pre­vail­ing in the In­dian mar­ket and how the com­pany is ad­dress­ing it. Ex­cerpts from the in­ter­view:

Q: The in­dus­try is now talk­ing more about ADAS (Ad­vanced Driver As­sis­tance Sys­tem), so what is your view on it?

Jain: ADAS in In­dia is still in in­fant stage. We talk about cost pres­sures and value-for-money fea­tures and looking at these pri­or­i­ties there is go­ing to be chal­lenges in adapt­ing ADAS. To­day, what In­dia view as the mar­ket for ADAS, for ex­am­ple, is the 360 de­gree view of the car, bird­s­eye view of the car and more in­tel­li­gent park­ing sys­tems. For ADAS to com­pletely de­velop, it is go­ing to go through many phases. In the ini­tial stages of ADAS it is to be more about in­for­ma­tion and warn­ing. Then it will go into as­sist mode where, apart from in­for­ma­tion and warn­ing, the ADAS will start as­sist­ing the driver. In the third stage, apart from as­sist, it will also in­clude some level of au­ton­o­mous fea­tures, like au­ton­o­mous brak­ing, col­li­sion pre­ven­tion etc.

Q: When will In­dia reach the fully au­ton­o­mous driv­ing stage?

Jain: To get to the stage of au­ton­o­mous it will prob­a­bly take an­other 15 years. To reach the next level we have to change the en­tire sys­tem and this calls for more in­vest­ment and the in­fra­struc­ture has to be at a dif­fer­ent level. We are cur­rently work­ing to­wards the first stage. We be­lieve that con­sol­i­da­tion of elec­tronic con­trol unit mod­ules (ECUs) are go­ing to hap­pen within the car and the cock­pit elec­tron­ics are go­ing to get con­sol­i­dated into cock­pit do­main con­trollers.

The cock­pit do­main con­troller tech­nol­ogy ba­si­cally has a mul­ti­core ar­chi­tec­ture. Each core will able to drive 1 fea­ture. Within 1 do­main con­troller, mul­ti­ple touch do­mains can run si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Our ADAS ap­proach will be through the do­main con­troller be­cause it has mul­ti­ple things.

The do­main con­troller will be able to pro­vide flex­i­bil­ity so you can bring in a new core or new fea­ture at any point in time and you don’t have to com­mit to that up front. Many OEMs in In­dia are not sure when they want to bring ADAS. So the multi-core ar­chi­tec­ture pro­vides enough band­width in terms of com­pu­ta­tion etc. and the flex­i­bil­ity of a multi-core ar­chi­tec­ture. Vis­teon’s do­main con­trollers can do that.

Q: what is go­ing to be Vis­teon’s ap­proach to au­ton­o­mous driv­ing?

Jain: Vis­teon’s au­ton­o­mous driv­ing ap­proach tar­gets the next gen­er­a­tion of ve­hi­cle ar­chi­tec­ture: Sen­sors connected over the eth­er­net and cen­tral com­put­ing of those sig­nals for au­ton­o­mous ap­pli­ca­tions. We will fea­ture a fail-safe cen­tralised do­main hard­ware based on the cur­rent SmartCore do­main con­troller tech­nol­ogy.

A key dif­fer­en­tia­tor of Vis­teon’s au­ton­o­mous driv­ing vi­sion is the ap­pli­ca­tion of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, or, more specif­i­cally, ma­chine learn­ing, for ob­ject de­tec­tion and clas­si­fi­ca­tion as well as other crit­i­cal driv­ing and mon­i­tor­ing func­tions that can ben­e­fit from a learn­ing ap­proach to im­prove their ef­fec­tive­ness com­pared with con­ven­tional ve­hi­cles. In ad­di­tion, we will also be open for part­ner ap­proaches; our ar­chi­tec­ture will be de­signed to be open for part­ners, with al­go­rith­mic devel­op­ers in mind and en­abling them to in­te­grate

al­go­rithms and ap­pli­ca­tions with the over­all sys­tem set-up.

Our ap­proach can be di­vided into 3 main com­po­nents: First, the need to gen­er­ate fault-tol­er­ant hard­ware in the sys­tem set-up based on a cen­tralised unit. Se­cond, Vis­teon will look to con­struct an open soft­ware ar­chi­tec­ture and frame­work that makes it pos­si­ble for third par­ties – au­tomak­ers and other soft­ware devel­op­ers – to de­velop al­go­rithms and ap­pli­ca­tions for au­ton­o­mous driv­ing. The third is ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI). This is re­quired for deep learn­ing and to carry out ob­ject clas­si­fi­ca­tion, ob­ject track­ing and even de­ci­sion mak­ing. AI is new to the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try, but is essen­tial to mak­ing more com­plex road-based de­ci­sions, such as how ve­hi­cles are mov­ing and which di­rec­tion the car should take.

Q: Elec­tron­ics has be­come a main­stay for the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try to pro­vide cost ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions and meet the global mega­trends. There­fore what is Vis­teon’s vi­sion for 2020?

Jain: In­dia is adopt­ing tech­nolo­gies very fast and there is an in­creased fo­cus from OEMs. Vis­teon’s fo­cus is to bring in more aware­ness on tech­nol­ogy to OEMs on what elec­tron­ics can do to im­prove the user ex­pe­ri­ence. There is a much higher will­ing­ness to pay both from con­sumers as well as from OEMs. In fact OEMs are al­lo­cat­ing more bud­get to­wards elec­tron­ics mod­ules. So we are try­ing to ed­u­cate about the ne­ces­sity of elec­tron­ics and how much value these elec­tron­ics are bring­ing com­pared to spend­ing on aes­thetic parts. The reg­u­la­tory push is still re­quired in terms of bring­ing in more elec­tronic com­po­nents in ve­hi­cles. In terms of cost, Vis­teon’s ap­proach is very sim­ple. One, we do fru­gal in­no­va­tion and it is the key to bring­ing in more elec­tron­ics in In­dia. Se­cond is bring­ing dis­rup­tive tech­nol­ogy at a rad­i­cally low price. We can de­velop prod­ucts right for In­dia and we need not be driven by how the global elec­tronic mar­kets are go­ing, we can bring rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent tech­nol­ogy at re­ally low prices and fi­nally not to fo­cus on num­ber of fea­tures. There is an ob­ses­sion with fea­tures in In­dia but I think it is clearly shift­ing from an ob­ses­sion with the num­ber of fea­tures to hav­ing the ‘right’ fea­tures and fo­cus on user ex­pe­ri­ence.

Q: Apart from cost do you see any chal­lenges in Vis­teon’s prod­uct of­fer­ings while ad­dress­ing OEM ex­pec­ta­tions?

Jain: Change is hap­pen­ing very fast. We need to keep pace and the ca­pa­bil­ity of tal­ent that we get from the mar­ket is con­stantly a chal­lenge. There is a lot of ca­pa­bil­ity en­hance­ment works and our fo­cus is on ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies. The other chal­lenge is the lo­cal­i­sa­tion of com­po­nents where there is not much move­ment.

Q: What is the cur­rent lo­cal­i­sa­tion of elec­tronic prod­ucts in In­dia?

Jain: The Tier ones like us man­u­fac­ture 100% in In­dia. PCB man­u­fac­tur­ing and assem­bly is hap­pen­ing in In­dia but in terms of elec­tronic com­po­nents as such it is still 100% im­port. The govern­ment is giv­ing duty waivers for elec­tronic com­po­nent im­port. But it still comes un­der the area of forex rate, which keeps in­creas­ing and that poses a chal­lenge as the end con­sumer is not ready to pay more for his car. These are the chal­lenges we fore­see.

Q: The cur­rent elec­tron­ics con­tent in cars in In­dia is worth be­tween US$ 500 and $1,000. Where do you see the in­dus­try is head­ing to and what is your pro­jec­tion?

Jain: Ev­ery time I have tried to pro­ject it, I have gone wrong. It has al­ways been higher than my cal­cu­la­tion so I would say it is grow­ing. If you take a con­ser­va­tive ap­proach, 25-30% CAGR on au­to­mo­tive elec­tron­ics is com­pletely doable and if there is any reg­u­la­tory push that is com­ing in we can see even more than 30% of growth.

Vis­teon’s Smartcore is in­dus­try-first au­to­mo­tive grade cock­pit do­main con­troller so­lu­tion that im­proves ef­fi­ciency and cost of own­er­ship

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