Automotive R&D focuses on cleaner environment with connected vehicles
Cleaner environment is the buzz word in the automotive industry and in correlation with that a lot of regulations are in place. R&D without any choice has to take the centre stage for realising the same. A conference on Automotive R&D trends, organized by the Tamil Nadu Technology Development & Promotional Council of CII discussed the crucial research and technology needs for this contemporary environment.
With BS IV getting staged in April 2017 and BS VI within the vicinity, R&D needs to be geared up. The speakers shared their views on R&D trends, challenges ahead and attempts to project the future of the same. Ambuj Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary/Industry Commissioner and Director of Industries and Commerce, Government of Tamil Nadu, said, “Customers are looking forward for IT and IT-enabled services at a possible lower cost. They designate cameras, LED lights, ground clearance, seat comfort and other peripheral aspects as their priorities. The engines and the calibrations are not in their priority list. Hence counterfeits are booming in the market. But R&D cannot be selectively manipulated in these areas as only fuel efficiency and performance get counted with the engine attributes. ‘More for less’ strategy can no longer be viable and the government has to work on optimisation strategy to mitigate these concerns. Collaborative approach is the current need and government has to certainly drive this. It brings in economies of scale. With this environment in place it is expected that R&D spend will be halved and the output will be doubled. With this collaboration, the OEM and component makers can work on their core strengths and the testing, simulation and other needs can be rented out, iterations could be worked out and the solutions can be possibly arrived at.”
Also he stated that the industrial policies in India are indeed encouraging. But there should be Tamil Nadu-specific policies. “We need to concentrate on
the focus areas like demand generation, technology, R&D and skill enhancement. For the R&D needs we are glad to provide empty land, built up space or any other sort of help. We also foresee Indian consumers will not freeze the spend anymore with safety features chipped in.”
Speaking on the occasion, Gajanan V Gandhe, Managing Director, IAC Asia Limited, said, “Make in India and the capital investment for the same takes the ‘hot-seat’ discussion in the conference. There was a real fizz all over when it got introduced as a campaign. No doubt, investments are planned and global investments are promised too. But have they got materialised is a big question and the response for the same is a unanimous ‘No’. The GDP figure is usually arrived at with the summation of private investment, Government investment and the consumer consumption indices. The private investment has declined as there is no demand generation. This demand generation is proportionate to the earning potential of the people. Only 27% of the population has high earning potential. This has to be increased in order to drive Make in India campaign in its intended path.”
Also he highlighted that the forum which involves the investment decisions across globe is not considering India as one of the favourite spots owing to a lot of bureaucratic hiccups. “Though India is a potential environment the investments will not yield quick returns is what the forum concludes.” Something has to be done with immediate effect to disprove the same.
Another panelist said, “There are challenging phases and we are trailing in that path. We should develop in such a way that Audi and BMW-like cars should never be a dream and meant only for the elites. This could happen only when the GDP scales high. The budget this time has opened avenues for FDIs with 49:50 and in some cases 100% FDIs are also welcomed. These relaxations trigger much income and will attract good investments, in turn provisions are expected to be projected for R&Ds. The top-end car should be manufactured fully locally from fixtures to finished cars indigenously and that will drive R&D to its peak. It will happen but a little tweak is needed from every end.”
Vineet Dravid, Managing Director, Comsol Multiphysics, said, “There needs to be an attitudinal change. Optimisation of process and production alone is not the challenge but the legacy has to be built. It is possible only with innovation being taken as the core.”
“The ability to innovate and disrupt forms the bedrock of R&D. Aligning with the global trends drives Make in India efficiently. In this digital environment the data only can be utilised for various analysis. R&D will be based on how to democratise and monetise the same,” said Guruprasad Math, Southern Regional Head-Strategic Business, Ansys Software. India has to concentrate on parametric R&D if not core R&D for at least a few years from now.
Cleaner ecosystem will be driven with connected-vehicle strategy. “We are working on assorted technologies like valet parking, smart phone driven technologies, Valeo sight stream (clarity enhanced during rainy season), virtual key, to name a few. Also the evolution is happening from driver-centric approaches to mobility as a whole. We are also working on technologies and help drivers to replace drivers and sensors are used for the same. We are now in the process of developing laser scanners for certain applications. The communication has gone beyond the confines of the car. We also develop an interface through which we can switch between automation and manual mode,” Ashok Belani, Group President & Managing Director, Valeo India Pvt Ltd., said.
Speaking on the occasion, Gautam Dutta, Senior Director-Marketing, Siemens Industry Software India, said, “Model based simulation and validation is critical for automotive suppliers to meet today’s challenges and deliver more innovation, clean sheet and light weight designs on time and with predictable performance. Auto systems suppliers need entire simulation portfolio covering 1D, 3D test data management and expert engineering services.” The component suppliers will get elevated to system suppliers by doing the same.
K Rajan, Senior Associate Vice President & Head-Products & Training, Cholamandalam MS General Insurance said, “Insurance as an eco system comprises OEMs, insurance companies, technology developers, customers and government. As per statistics, the number of thefts happening is very large in the country and every 13 minutes one vehicle is stolen in Delhi. In order to curb the same, telematics driven vehicles are advised. In China and Brazil, telematicfit has become mandate. India will also have telematics becoming mandatory soon. This telematics will play a vital role to fix insurance premiums too. As more and more technologies get into the stream the risk will be lessened and the insurance premium would accordingly be determined.”
“There is a point which was highlighted that validation is not similar to all environments. European environment is not similar to our environment. Hence environment-specific validation is needed. Data should be gathered from the initial stage and analysis and algorithms are checked against the calibration to meet the standards. This will increase the performance of the vehicles. Subsystem designs and validations and integrated system validation as a whole will increase the life of the components and in turn will meet the expectations of the consumers. R&D is not a process but the base on which other operations have to exist,” Mahavir Patil, Managing Director, ETAS India Pvt Ltd, said.