The automotive industry has been witnessing rapid evolution of electronics in areas of engine management systems, infotainment system, telematics, body/chassis and safety, among other areas. Keeping in sync with the industry-wide developments made, Auto Tech Review conducted the fifth edition of its annual conference, the “CTO Roundtable on Automotive Electronics” on June 27, 2018. For the first time, the conference was held outside Delhi in the auto hub of Pune.
The 5th CTO Roundtable conference attracted participation from various industry leaders, who deliberated on the latest advancements happening in automotive electronics space, role of electronics in achieving BS-VI compliance, relevance of IC engines and how the future is going to stack up.
Conference Chairperson, Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director, ARAI set the tone for the conference with a highly perspective-based speech. Urdhwareshe said that data computation has emerged as a significant tool that is going to drive the next generation of automotive solutions. Acknowledging the automotive industry’s move towards greener alternatives, the ARAI Director stated that the speed at which transformation is taking place (in terms of embracing electric mobility and connected vehicles) is simply amazing. She added that the automotive industry no longer depends on physical testing and validation as it has advanced tools and techniques at its disposal.
However, unless efforts are undertaken towards improving quality of life, it will be a futile exercise to bring in more and more transportation solutions into the country, she warned. She stressed on the need for investing on technologies that pave the way for intelligent infrastructure instead of focusing on improving existing infrastructure.
The automotive industry has been abuzz with never-ending talk on the relevance of IC engines given the government’s push for electric vehicles. The ARAI Director was categorical that IC engines will continue to stay for much longer than they are predicted, at least in India. The changing automotive scenario will call for new skillsets as the technical requirements for electric vehicles and connected mobility are different from earlier skillsets, she observed.
The Keynote Address was delivered by Srinivas Aravapalli, Senior VP & Head – Product Development (Automotive Sector), Mahindra & Mahindra. He said OEMs need to fundamentally transform their business case assumptions, as the focus currently is not much on additional monetisation benefits post-sales; for example, what kind of value an OEM is creating for the product and what unique experience it is providing to the customer.
He elaborated on the importance of data monetisation and how the automotive industry can benefit from it. Data monetisation has penetrated various industries, but is yet to catch up in the automotive industry, he said. Data monetisation can be handy in providing value added services such as usage-based insurance, predictive maintenance, over-the-air (OTA) updates among others, Aravapalli noted.
Speaking in the inaugural session, Ruchir Dixit, Technical Director, EU & India Sales, Mentor Graphics (A Siemens Business) spoke about how the increasing penetration of electronics will not just let cars take simple decisions, but decisions about life and death for vehicle users. Acknowledging that fuel efficiency is important, he stated that there is little point talking about fuel efficiency unless safety and security are not addressed. Although ‘safety’ and ‘security’ are sometimes used interchangeably, he highlighted that safety is about protecting the world from the device and security is about protecting the device from the world, and both concepts need to be addressed differently.
The first session on ‘The Next Leap in Electronics for ICE and New Energy Vehicles’ saw speakers share diverse perspectives about the automotive electronics industry. Padmesh Mandloi, Senior Technical Account Manager, ANSYS, Software India said the convergence of three mega trends – autonomy, electrification and connected smart vehicles – has enhanced the importance of automotive electronics. He threw light on how the automotive electronics industry is moving away from times, when each function had a separate ECU, and is now focusing on facilitating distributed computing and bringing down the number of ECUs, using the device that allows interoperability or interconnect of the functions.
Industry experts believe that compliance to radiated & conducted emissions & ISO 26262 safety standards, reliability of ECUs/ PCBs and model-based designs are key challenges for the automotive electronics industry. The speakers were unanimous that all these challenges have to be addressed in such a way that benefits the industry as well as the customers.
The session deliberated on how electronics players are focusing on miniaturisation, as the market is looking for smaller devices, wherein more transistors are packed into the chips and the size also goes down.
Manoharan Rajadurai, Head, Product Line Electronics Segment, Continental Automotive India, underlined the importance of a scalable vehicle control unit that can take care of complex functionalities, vehicle architecture requirements for the future, driver demand, torque requirements, etc.
The speakers also touched upon electrical safety of vehicles and felt that ensuring high levels of electrical safety will be a challenge at design, testing and certification phases. The automotive electronics space is witnessing heightened use of software development. Many leaders were of the opinion that connected cars and safety technologies will continue to influence a lot of software, electronics, sensors, radars, etc. The other speakers in this session included Prakash Gowda, Polarion ALM Portfolio Lead, Siemens Software India and Anand Deshpande, Deputy Director, ARAI.
The second session on ‘Driving the Next Generation of Vehicles in a Connected World’ deliberated on connected and autonomous vehicles. Pradeep Sreedharan, VP – Sales & Business Operations, Unlimit IoT said it is a constant challenge for automotive companies to ensure the in-car technology is great. He also talked about the shortening development cycle for new models, down from the two to three years earlier to eight to ten months now.
Arun Devaraj, Head – India, SEA and Korea Engineering, Visteon Corporation said with the advent of silicon and multicores in commuting, the focus is on what more one can be done with a single ECU from a vehicle standpoint. Accentuating the need for computing in ECUs, he said that typically an infotainment system generates 10,000 DMIPS, while a high-end infotainment system over the next three years is talking about between 50,000 to 75,000 DMIPS. For self-driving scenarios, computing could run into one million DMIPS.
The speakers explained that typically, high-end cars can have 75-100 ECUs, while mass market cars have about 30-40 ECUs. Thus, if more computing power is delivered into your ECU it has the ability to bring together driver information, cluster, infotainment, heads-up display and telematics as a single ECU, they said.
Jai Gupta, Head of Software Development Coding and Testing, Jaguar Land Rover India, while agreeing that autonomous vehicles will lead to a safer and better good quality life, said it will take humongous efforts from OEMs to get these technologies on roads. Gupta threw his perspective about the need to work with hardware, software and systems together, wherein the car is not even available before one conducts testing of 80 to 100 ECUs. Under such a scenario, in absence of a car, ECUs are mounted on so-called lab car, as the engine has to be simulated in some platform, he explained. With so much of advancements happening in software on the automotive side, Gupta stated the industry must not compartmentalise engineering. Rather, testing and designing should be done together, he said.
Prashant Deshpande, Managing Director, EC.Mobility touched upon the criticality of leveraging data for autonomous driving or driver assistance features. Deshpande said that tonnes of data are generated but this data is of no use if it is not correctly labelled (box labelling or semantic labelling) and prepared, as without that an algorithm cannot take the right decisions.
Underpinning the significance of labelling and interpretations, the EC.Mobility MD said one cannot make interpretations without data labelling, and without interpretations you cannot take logical decisions. This also explains why much data is captured in various scenarios all over the world. It is also critical to understand that an algorithm must perform, and if an algorithm is not performing correctly and data is not labelled, user could run into challenges, he noted.
The second session was also attended by Brahmanand Patil, Managing Director, Vector Informatik India and Prashant Pawar, General Manager, ARAI.
A panel discussion on ‘Connected Powertrain and the Future of Mobility’ was also held as part of the daylong conference. Moderated by Srinath Manda, Associate Director, Automotive & Transportation, MarketsandMarkets the panel included Umang Salgia, Head of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality, Visteon Corporation; Nishant Tholiya, AVP, KPIT Technologies; Mitali Mishra, CTO, EC.MOBILITY; Narendra Saini, General Manager – Product, Unlimit IoT as well as Jai Gupta from Jaguar Land Rover India.
A study on ‘Automotive Electronics & Connectivity – An Indian Perspective’ was also released as part of the conference by Knowledge Partner, MarketsandMarkets. The conference was supported by Siemens as the Presenting Partner, ARAI as the Association Partner, Unlimit IoT as the Associate Partner, Boyden as the Co-Partner and Continental, Vector, Visteon, ANSYS and EC.Mobility as the Gold Partners.