The automotive industry has been witnessing a rapid evolution of electronics in areas of engine management systems, infotainment systems, telematics, body/chassis and safety among other areas. And to deliberate, discuss and share insights about the advancements in the automotive electronics space, Auto Tech Review conducted the sixth edition of “CTO Roundtable on Automotive Electronics” on June 12, 2019.
The role of automotive electronics will be huge in the overall vehicle ecosystem going forward. And various industry studies precisely reveal that. According to a recent study, electronic systems are poised to represent up to 50 % of the total vehicle cost by 2030, while another study revealed that all new cars by 2030 will be connected. Further, as per another study, 15 % of the vehicles will be autonomous vehicles by 2030.
Themed ‘Pushing the Boundaries in Propulsion and Connectivity’, the 6th CTO Roundtable attracted a stellar line-up of speakers, who shared different perspectives about the latest developments in the automotive electronics space.
Dr AK Jindal, Head Engineering Commercial Vehicles, xEVs and Defence, ERC, Tata Motors, who graced the inaugural session as the Guest of Honour, deliberated on how electric mobility is a crying need in the Indian context, as the country strives to reduce CO2 emissions as well as cut down on its inflated import bill. He stated that the FAME II scheme is a substantial step towards offering support to electric mobility and is in line with the larger objective of achieving sustainability and addressing urban environmental concerns.
Elaborating on the huge potential of buses under shared electric mobility, Dr Jindal said state transport undertaking (STU) city buses, airport buses, staff buses and school buses are the right candidates for 100 % electrification in line with NITI Aayog’s vision of achieving 100 % electrification for public transport vehicles by 2032.
Dr Jindal further stated that battery technology is developing at a rapid pace than it was anticipated earlier, but underpinned vehicle range, vehicle cost, battery pack replacement cost, battery pack life and charging as key challenges for adoption of EVs in the country. On electric motors front, he said permanent magnet (PM) has higher efficiency, higher torque density, is simple to control and low on weight as compared to induction motor and switch reluctance motor, although permanent magnet is expensive compared to the other two.
Ashwani Maheshwari, CEO, Varroc India Business, said given the volatile and uncertain automotive space, OEMs are trying to figure what direction the market will take and a similar uncertainty has got transferred to Tier I manufacturers. The need of the hour to survive in this competitive marketplace is to make a product with an appropriate technology and one that is marketable. He further noted that there are a lot of technologies coming up within electric vehicles, but was quick to point out that there is no decisive technology that will be adopted in future, which is going to have a business impact on OEMs and Tier I manufacturers.
Dr Naveen Gautam, Member of the Executive Board (Electronics), Hella and Managing Director, Hella India Automotive, who also attended the inaugural session as Guest of Honour, said for many decades India have been playing the game of ‘catching up’ with the rest of the world and with the advent of BS VI there is a level playing field with the rest of the world. The country must leapfrog and think beyond BS VI, and the objective should not be just to solve problems of today and tomorrow, but think of what do ‘next’ if all these ‘problems of today and tomorrow’ get resolved.
Dr Gautam also harped on how mobility will look like in 100 years’ time, suggesting by that time there will be a blurring of boundaries instead of pushing boundaries. He talked about the possibility of simulated reality taking prominence and questioned whether mobility will be really required in physical form.
The conference also marked the release of a study ‘Powertrain Electronics – Outlook for India’ by MarketsandMarkets, the Knowledge Partner of the conference. Presenting the study to the audience, Srinath Manda, Associate Director – Automotive & Transportation, MarketsandMarkets India said the increasing pressure on OEMs to adhere to emission norms and improved fuel economy has necessitated the need for increased use of power electronics in powertrain/drivetrain applications. He further added that the cost of electronic content per vehicle has been witnessing a rapid increase – it stood at 32 % in 2015 up from 22 % in 2010. The cost of electronic content per vehicle is expected to jack up to 48 % by 2025 and 65 % by 2030, Manda noted.
SESSION ON POWERTRAIN ELECTRONICS
The session on powertrain electronics was themed ‘Meeting BS VI Emission Norms – Electronics as an Enabler’. Representatives from different stakeholders offered diverse perspectives on the subject. In his presentation, Sameer Damle, Head Technical Sales & Engineering Solutions, ETAS Automotive said BS VI is not a simple step, in terms of meeting emission efficiency. Damle stated that BS VI effectively means multi-fold reduction and is mostly achieved by adding aftertreatment components. The whole transition exercise from BS IV to BS VI has been hugely challenging, he noted.
Dr Ravi Damodaran, CTO, Greaves Cotton, said premium two-wheelers, passenger car and commercial vehicle segments have been witnessing sufficiently high usage of electronics over the past 30 years, and will only go up as electrification and hybridisation take prominence. He pointed out that the product life and serviceability of all electronics-based engines are lower than what it should be and added that there is not enough return for the investments one makes as compared to mechanical systems that are extremely repair-friendly.
Girish N Ramaswami, Head System Engineering, Continental Automotive Components India, said most technologies are focussed on optimising the valve train variability or combustion in the engine as well as aftertreatment. He stated that CO2 reduction using valve train can be achieved through knock optimisation and with electronics one can get closer to knock points and optimise the engine to increase efficiency.
Hitesh Chowdhari, Manager, ARAI, said the upcoming BS VI norms are just one milestone and the next challenge is real drive emissions (RDE), where the engine conformation is not limited to one zone but the entire zone for different conditions.
SESSION ON CONNECTED TECHNOLOGIES
Themed ‘Taking the Next Leap in Vehicle Connectivity’, the second session witnessed speakers sharing insights on how connected technologies are likely to change the vehicle ecosystem in the future.
Mitali Mishra, Chief Technology Officer, EC.Mobility, said vehicle connectivity is one of the most secular forms of technology to come up because it talks about vehicle connectivity, V2V, V2X, V2I, and even takes customer data and customer experiences into account. She added that the connected car technology has clearly moved beyond a simple internet connection.
Sheetalkumar Joshi, Senior Manager, ANSYS India, said the industry has been witnessing all possibilities that are coming with connected vehicle and specifically 5G, which is going to be explored further. The key thing lies in how the hardware is designed that ensures the intended functions are carried out, he said.
Brahmanand Patil, Managing Director, Vector Informatik, said OEMs are increasingly focussing on new monetisation models like software as an aftersales product. OEMs can offer new features after the vehicle is sold with an update to the software over the air, enable new functions or keep a standard platform of the vehicle, he added.
Shedding light on the fleet operator scenario in India, V Ramanathan, Vice President, OE Sales and Marketing, Wabco India, said an effective fleet management solution will help fleet operators reduce cost and make better profits. He also mentioned about how integrating the fleet management solution with fuel sensors can help detect fuel theft.
Focussing on integrating telematics for two-wheelers, Giridhar Joshi, Product Line Head – EMS, Telematics, Varroc India, said the need of the hour is to make the GPS receiver compliant to all available global constellations since it is not just the costs, as the biggest difference between commercial vehicles or cars and motorcycles is the smaller battery size. The objective is to ensure the GPS receiver consumes as low power as possible, he noted.
Earlier, Sandeep Mandal, DGM, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd offered perspectives on the leading carmaker’s initiatives on driver training and safety, but added that vehicle users in India continue to be bogged down by traffic congestion, high road accidents and limited parking space.
A panel discussion on ‘Connected Powertrain and the Future of Mobility’ was also held as part of the day-long conference. Moderated by Deepangshu Dev Sharma, Editor-in-Chief, Auto Tech Review, the panel included Dr Naveen Gautam, Dr Ravi Damodaran, Mitali Mishra, Arjun Jain, President and Business Head – Electrical-Electronics Division and Whole-time Director, Varroc and Amit Agarwal, Director Technical, ANSYS. The panel unanimously made a strong pitch for collaboration among various industry stakeholders as India moves towards a technologically advanced and more fuel-efficient future of mobility.
The 6th CTO Roundtable on Automotive Electronics was organised in association with ARAI, and was powered by ANSYS. The conference was also supported by Gold partners – Continental, EC Mobility, Varroc, Vector Informatik, and ETAS; Co-Partners – Keysight Technologies, LDRA and Syncious; Supporting Partner – ICAT and Knowledge Partner – MarketsandMarkets.