The automotive industry in India is undergoing a transformation, in terms of newer as well as disruptive technologies that need to be certified safe, even as the industry focusses on safer mobility for the future. Manesar-based International Centre for Automotive Technologies (ICAT) is currently supporting the government in formulating various regulations as well as creating testing infrastructure in the country. Auto Tech Review met up with Dinesh Tyagi, Director, ICAT, to understand its focus on safer mobility and developing future technologies in India.
With BS VI norms coming into force in little over a year, ICAT expects increased thrust from OEMs for vehicle and component-level testing in 2019. To meet BS VI emission regulations, companies have been working on engine development as well as testing them on the engine test bed. The automotive industry is also focussing on the development at the vehicle level for the M1 class, which will start this year.
ICAT’s team has developed India-specific real driving emissions (RDE) procedure in calibration work for vehicle emission level testing. The vehicle will be tested on public roads with a portable emission measurement system (PEMS) mounted at the back of the vehicle, while respecting local road traffic legislation and safety requirements as well as simultaneously complying with applicable laws. ICAT foresees manufacturers getting into the vehicle level calibration work and emission development work by the end of the current quarter.
ICAT also introduced high security features on the central motor vehicle rules (CMVR) certificates in January 2019, which includes type approval certificates (TAC) and conformity of production (COP) certificates for vehicles, engines and components.
The principal homologation testing agency and the R&D centre in North India has already started scaling up their capacities contemplating the heavy rush for BS VI-compliant vehicle and component level certification in 2019. Tyagi feels that the auto industry is now taking the lead in complying with new emission norms coupled with the timely government support in providing fuel.
ICAT is now equipped with 15 test beds and six emission chassis dynamometers, built from its own accruals, against three tests beds and two dynamometers it got from NATRiP. However, policies on scrappage of older vehicles as well as electric vehicles are of crucial importance, while the industry moves towards future of mobility, he added. Vehicles in India are often ill-maintained and the existing pollution under control (PUC) system measures private vehicular pollution in idle mode. There should be a mechanism to measure pollution in loaded mode as well, to evaluate the actual pollution levels in vehicles, noted Tyagi.
The government is looking at announcing the second phase of FAME scheme for both public and private vehicles. Electric vehicles continue to face bottlenecks like battery energy density along with the overall costs. Tyagi said there is a strong need to improve energy density and bring the overall costs down by 40-45 % to make EVs commercially viable as their adoption will not take off only on the strength of subsidies. He argued in favour of a structured policy for early EV adoption.
ICAT is currently preparing its laboratories for safer electromobility. The current flow in an electric vehicle will develop electromagnetic waves while operating on the road. Thus, ICAT has developed an Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) lab, where Vehicle Semi-Anechoic Chamber (VSAC) is equipped to check electromagnetic emissions and immunity across all vehicle segments (two-wheelers to heavy commercial vehicles, etc) and avoid vehicle malfunctioning while dealing with its own and external radiation.
Even at the component level, ICAT is fully geared up for testing and validation of batteries, controllers and ECUs and is self-sufficient for EV certification. ICAT is preparing its labs to conduct crash testing of electric vehicles as well, as safety is of prime concern in EVs. Tyagi said one must be prepared for situations like vehicle catching fire or vehicle explosion during a crash. ICAT has also lined up plans to add an electrical test bed capacity for testing of pure electric motors or a hybrid solution and a new battery emulator capacity in its auto electrical lab. Alongside, a new test facility in EMC lab for e-motor EMI engine is expected to come up by next quarter, informed Tyagi. A climatic chamber to validate solutions like motor behaviour and its performance in varied temperatures is also on the cards for ICAT.
Indian roads account for over 1.5 lakh road-related deaths, and to address vehicle and road safety-related issues, ICAT organised the International Passive Safety Seminar (iPass 2018) in December 2018 to spread awareness about increased vehicle safety among vehicle users, and associated technologies. The Indian government is actively regulating safety measures in vehicle brake performance, steering performance and, lighting systems. However, Tyagi stresses that the technologies related to crash avoidance using light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and radio wave detection and ranging (RADAR) should be leveraged to arrive at emergency braking.
TEXT: Anirudh Raheja