Auto Tech Review for the first time ever virtually conducted the CTO Roundtable 7.0 and deliberated on four key focus areas - powertrain, infotainment, telematics and V2X
Vehicles are increasingly getting sophisticated with enhanced penetration of electronics and this sophistication has driven significant advancements in areas of engine management systems, infotainment systems, telematics, vehicle comfort, safety among others. The role of automatic electronics will only get bigger going forward with proliferation of technologies such as connected technology, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), electric vehicles (EV) and autonomous vehicles. It may be worth noting that electronics currently represent around 40 % of the overall vehicle and this percentage is only expected to go up in the coming years. Against this backdrop Auto Tech Review for the first time ever virtually conducted the CTO Roundtable 7.0 on ‘Automotive Electronics. Themed ‘Pushing the Boundaries in Propulsion and Technology’ the CTO Roundtable 7.0 deliberated on four key focus areas - powertrain, infotainment, telematics and V2X. The virtual conference featured a line-up of high-powered speakers, who shared diverse perspectives about the developments taking place in the automotive electronics space.
Delivering his keynote address during the inaugural session, Dinesh Tyagi, Director, International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT), said automotive electronics has not only transformed the way a modern vehicle functions, but also the utility it has to offer as a product as well as customer expectations from it. The ICAT Director said electric drivetrain that is being used as a standalone system or as a hybrid electric solution will be a game-changer as far as environment protection, energy security, sustainability mobility, vehicular emission and fuel efficiency are concerned.
Tyagi said the human interface in vehicles will get less dominant and will be gradually replaced by artificial intelligence, driven by electronic interventions, which will necessitate that the speed of decision-making remains at par or is better than human. The use of electronics will go a long way in making vehicles more intelligent and autonomous, thus making vehicles safer and easier to use, remarked the senior ICAT official.
Franck Euvrard, Executive Vice President & Global Head -Engineering, Research & Development, Tata Technologies, elaborated on how the COVID-19 scenario will prompt OEMs to adapt to changing consumer preferences and focus on offering better value at lower costs, facilitate a hygienic environment as well as contactless operations. Sharing a perspective on ‘Vehicle Engineering ReSeT’, Euvrard felt that OEMs would need to drive a reassuring feeling among consumers so as to restore consumer confidence and also talked about adapting engineering to the new normal as well as integrating engineering changes at the product development stage. The COVID-19 situation would make it imperative for OEMs to ensure their products stand out in the market, opined the Tata Technologies EVP.
Dr Aravind S Bharadwaj, Former CTO, Mahindra & Mahindra, said India’s smooth switch to BS 6 has shown that it is on par with the global mobility community, in terms of emission standards. Dr Bharadwaj said vehicles manufactured in India are pretty much compliant with global standards, both in terms of emission and safety and more importantly, are offered at attractive prices.
Harping on the importance of survival amidst COVID-19, Dr Bharadwaj said a new DNA – digitisation, networking and automation will be the mantra for the industry going forward without which no company can survive. He said the country must invest on technology and create intellectual property in India to be a winner and not just be satisfied with Made-in-India programmes. The onus is on the government to be an enabler and not a controller, in terms of ease of doing business and foreign direct investments and in this regard the government is making the right noises, Dr Bharadwaj pointed out. Earlier, Deepangshu Dev Sharma, Editor-in-Chief, Auto Tech Review delivered the welcome address.
The technology session featured diverse perspectives from various industry leaders. Shitalkumar Joshi, Head, Electronics Application Engineering ANSYS India & ASEAN, set the context for the session by dwelling at length about how digital transformation is taking place in areas of model-based system engineering, virtual verification and validation, use of physics-based high fidelity methods, virtual compliance, integrated functional safety and material intelligence.
Abhijit Mulay, General Manager, Automotive Electronics Department, ARAI, said the Paris Climate change agreement, ambient air quality concerns, oil import (energy security), and thrust on solar power generation & storage are the driving forces for electric mobility. He also stated that the automotive electronics space faces a number of technical challenges such as keeping up with upcoming network standards & communication protocols, embedded smart diagnostics, reliability, safety & security, energy management, EMI/EMC and cyber security.
Devesh Pareek, Manager, ICAT, outlined the roadmap for standardisation and validation of electrical and electronics (E/E) components. He also shed light on EV test requirements, which are distributed between component level and vehicle level, for which various categories of test standards are followed by ICAT. All stakeholders including industry, regulation and testing agencies, academia need to come together to make India self-reliant in the domain of E/E, he noted.
The CTO Roundtable 7.0 featured a highly engaging panel discussion themed ‘Addressing Complexities Associated with Increasing Electronic Content in Vehicles’ – it comprised eminent personalities such as Prashant K Banerjee, Executive Director, SIAM; Sirish Batchu, Managing Director, Danlaw Technologies India; Dr Ravi Damodaran, Chief Technology Officer, Greaves Cotton; Rafiq Somani, Area Vice President - India & South Asia Pacific, Ansys Inc; and Dr Madhusudan Joshi, Deputy General Manager, ICAT. The panel discussion was moderated by Kaushik Madhavan, Vice President - Mobility, Frost & Sullivan.
The panel discussion deliberated on existing challenges for wider use of electronics in Indian vehicles. The panellists felt that OEMs cannot create the entire value chain required for connected and informatics electronics in isolation since it is the telecom and software players, who are more capable of developing these entities with more embedded intelligence to these systems. There was unanimity among the speakers about the need for robust collaboration among all involved developing parties. There was a line of thought that component-level simulation testing, validation and compliance will assist development of more rugged and cost-effective components with lower failure rates. Virtual testing has attracted a lot of interest from OEMs and component suppliers as it streamlines the product development lifecycle and helps create more reliable products suiting a particular market, the speakers observed. The panellists felt that the entire value chain must focus on sharing information with each other to develop better platforms for connected integration.
The CTO Roundtable 7.0 also featured an afternoon ‘Knowledge Session’. Kickstarting the session, Randeep Singh Khokhar, Head – Electricals & Electronics, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors elaborated about how different cameras, radar-based as well as ultrasonic-based sensors could be deployed across various ADAS applications for a robust performance in curbing road accidents. Introduction of a new feature has to go through a journey that includes various factors such as regulatory push, OEMs willing to introduce as well as customers’ willingness to pay for the same, he opined.
Manoj Menghrajani Business Development Manager, Electromagnetic Solutions, India & GCC Markets, Altair, said the introduction of advanced technologies has necessitated the need for fast-paced technology validation & verification and how such processes can be undertaken digitally through simulation tools.
Parag Inamdar Senior Director, Global Infotainment Platform, Visteon, dwelt on the cockpit of the future, especially for a car where fully digital displays will play a lead role with connectivity, along with active advanced safety features and machine learning-based solutions that will be closely supported by conversational cockpit assistant in natural languages. Voice-based technologies will become the new paradigm and integration of apps into the infotainment system will be a key trend in how future entertainment systems are developed, remarked Inamdar.
Swapnil Jain Co-Founder & CTO, Ather Energy, said within the connected vehicle ecosystem three broad aspects - connect, control and analyse - are playing a critical role in serving a customer’s unique demands such as vehicle performance, cost-optimised solutions as well as customer interacting with the vehicle via his/her smartphone, noted Jain. The senior Ather Energy official also briefed about how key software technologies such as serverless architecture, functional programming, artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), progressive web apps and data lake architecture are disrupting the automotive space.
The virtual CTO Roundtable 7.0 was a resounding success and laid out the future automotive electronics roadmap. Futuristic technologies such as connected technologies, ADAS, EVs and autonomous vehicles will propel never-seen-before penetration of electronics in vehicles going forward. There are complexities associated with these futuristic technologies that will throw up challenges which the auto industry is working to overcome.
The CTO Roundtable 7.0 was supported by Gold partners – ANSYS and Altair – Supporting Partner – ICAT and ARAI and Global Auto Think Tank Partner – World Auto Forum.