Emerging Technologies In The Indian Auto Sector

Emerging Technologies In The Indian Auto Sector

Ashok Belani, Group President & Managing Director, Valeo India, 0

Ashok Belani is a seasoned industry professional and a Senior Leader with over three decades of experience in the manufacturing sector. He is the Group President and Managing Director of Valeo India and a Member of the Board for all Valeo entities in India.

The Indian automobile industry witnessed tremendous growth in the last decade to become the fourth largest producer in the world after China US and Japan producing 5.17 million units(2018)of passenger and commercial vehicles. In addition to the growing domestic market, India has also become a salient auto exporter with strong future growth potential.

This potential has attracted significant investments from the automakers. The auto industry is attracting size able investments and it is spending a significant percentage of these investments on establishing a robust R&D infrastructure to keep-up with the evolving consumer preferences, price sensitivity, increasing competition and significant change in the regulations.

The technological disruptions in the automotive industry across the globe are creating new automotive trends with increased focus on improving and saving human lives. Specifically in India, these disruptions have created a compelling thrust among the industry stakeholders, and the new entrants to bring innovative and friendly Green, Shared, Safe & Connected Mobility solutions to the customers.

Green Mobility & Shared Mobility
The Government of India is focused on developing the country as a global hub for automotive manufacturing and R&D. In addition it has also set itself ambitious targets to cut the CO2 emissions in the country by 2030, in accordance to the Paris Agreement signed by the G20 nations.

To combat air pollution and to reduce the excessive dependence on oil imports, the Indian Government has introduced a series of policy measures such as FAME II, Bharat Stage VI, and CAFE norms. These measures are expected to change the face of the Indian automotive industry and accelerate the vehicle electrification in India.

In addition the increasing population density and the growing road congestion in the Indian cities are influencing the transport choices and preferences among commuters.'Cab Sharing'is becoming a popular choice for transport among commuters in the recent years. This shift in the trend from vehicle ownership to vehicle access has accelerated the'Shared Mobility' growth and options across major metros in India. This significant trend is expected to influence and propel Electrification of Fleet Vehicles, as cab aggregators are likely to adapt to electric vehicles faster, due to the low running cost.

These fast paced changes in people’s preferences and regulations inturn will define the technologies used in the future vehicles. One such technology that will accelerate electrification of vehicles in India is the 48volt (48V) electrical system, which is being increasingly adapted by the electrical vehicle manufacturers. This technology, which has evolved from the current 12-volt system, offers high efficiency, performance and low maintenance for electrification of vehicles. It can be implemented in both petrol and diesel powered hybrids. In addition this system is within the human electric resistance limit which makes it safe for swapping and charging the batteries at the service stations.

Globally, small cars with 48V technology are created and tested successfully, and the potential of 48V technology has made it possible to be demonstrated even in Plug-in Hybrid vehicles. In India, an electric three wheeler with 4KW motor, 100 kilometre range, with 45 kilometres per hour speed and with swappable battery is show cased successfully. 48V technology is recommended as an ideal choice for electrifying two-wheelers, three wheelers and two seater small cars in the price sensitive, Indian market.

In addition to pure electric vehicles, hybrids that use both fuel and electricity are fast gaining acceptance among the customers in our country. These vehicles combine a conventional internal combustion engine with an electric propulsion system, which results in better fuel economy and lower emission levels. Hybrids have given a rise to various High Voltage technology advancements such as electric motors, inverters, converters, generators, on-board chargers and integrated motor systems that are used in both passenger and commercial hybrid vehicles today.
In parallel to the ‘Electrification’ and ‘Hybridisation’ of vehicles, extensive research and technological advancements to reduce oil dependency in automotive are being carried out, which has resulted in many successful alternative fuel technology solutions for transportation. Alternate fuels such as methanol, propane, ethanol, compressed & liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, dimethanol ether biodiesel and hydrogen fuel cells are already tested and being adopted for transportation successfully across the globe. These are now being adopted increasingly in our country.

Telematics Based Services Are Likely To Become Part Of The Vehicles In Our Country In The Near Future, Specifically Aiding In Road Safety And Connectivity

Safe & Connected Mobility
Increasing urbanisation and congestion are making the roads in our country unsafe. Nearly 150,000 people have lost their lives in road related fatalities in the year 2018 alone. Therefore, along with electrification, the Indian Government is focused on improving road safety and reducing road fatalities. To meet this goal, the Government has introduced various policy measures such as mandating implementation of safety features such as seat-belt reminders, airbags, reverse parking sensors, alert systems for speed beyond 80 kilometres per hour, manual override over the central locking system for emergencies, and many others in passenger cars starting July 2019.In addition, the Government is emphasising on implementation of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems(ADAS) in the vehicles and fitting them with location tracking device, along with an emergency button.

These driver assistance technologies in vehicles are aided efficiently by ultrasonic sensors. A basic Park Assist technology will alert the driver on the distance through an alarm sound or through an image display on the driver information system. Similarly, the Blind Spot Detection technology can help the driver by detecting other vehicles in the invisible zone such as the driver’s side and rear corner of the vehicle, when the vehicle is on the move. An advanced 360-degree Sensing Technology can help the driver with obstacle detection all around the vehicle.

Driver Monitoring System a technology that uses sensors and cameras to watch driver alertness, is expected to play a major role in the Road Safety. As soon as danger is detected, the system will warn the driver by flashing lights and warning sounds to alert the driver.

Telematics is also expected to play a major role in future vehicles and telematics based services are likely to become part of the vehicles in our country in the near future specifically aiding in Road Safety and Connectivity.

The GPS Tracking and Emergency Call technology will help to track the vehicle on the move and help the driver or the passenger to alert a chosen person in case of emergency. Another emerging technology in Road Safety is the Emergency Collision Warning System and the Automated Emergency Braking system. This technology uses intelligent cameras and radars to give out a warning alarm to the driver, when an obstacle is detected. If the warning is ignored, then the system activates the vehicle's brakes to bring the vehicle to a stop, ensuring the highest safety to the driver and the passengers.

In addition to ADAS and Telematics the lighting sy stem in the vehicles will contribute significantly towards road safety in future. Already, two wheelers in our country are fitted with Daytime Running Lamp technology, and it is likely to become mandatory in all other vehicles soon. This technology allows the light to switch-on automatically, as soon as the vehicle begins to move so that it helps the other drivers to see the vehicle and hence avoid collision.

In the future most vehicles will convert to LED Technology for Head Tail and Fog Lamps as this technology provides improved vision to the driver and helps with the safe driving. In addition, LED technology is proven to enable power saving and provide longer durability. Advanced LED technologies are developed and tested, where the headlights of the vehicle will offer glare free vision to the driver of the oncoming vehicle, especially during the nights.

The frugal Indian mindset expanding R&D capabilities availability of talented & skilled labour and friendly Government regulations are making many global players to consider India as their global manufacturing hub in the future. The abundant technological capabilities available in the country also augur well for the Indian Automotive future. The competitive Indian auto market is witnessing disruptions aided by technology, where innovative, efficient and cost effective mobility solutions are expected to lead the way in future not only in India, but across the globe.