Technology continues to shift gears at a rapid clip across industries and the automotive industry is no exception
The advanced automotive markets are on the lookout for cost-optimised next-generation mobility solutions, while a fast-developing market like India is set to double its emission standards in less than half a decade’s time (BS III norms in FY17 to BS VI norms starting FY21). Both are ambitious initiatives that require multiple technologies working in tandem to facilitate a smoother transition towards greener mobility.
The NuGen Mobility Summit 2019 organised by the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) in association with SAENIS, SAE India, SAE International, NATRiP, DIMTS, MoRTH, SIAM and ACMA, served as a platform for industry stakeholders to brainstorm over newer technologies that can enable India develop cost-effective mobility solutions.
Held at ICAT’s Centre II facility, the three-day summit saw automotive technology experts from 15 countries delve into future vehicle technologies such as connected mobility, electric mobility, advanced materials, alternative fuels, autonomous vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen IC engines, vehicle dynamics and intelligent transportation systems. As many as 150 keynote speakers shared their perspectives during the course of the summit – further, 120 research papers were presented. The NuGen Mobility Summit 2019 attracted participation of over 200 automotive companies, who showcased their technological prowess over an exhibition area of 11,000 sq m. The summit also featured training sessions, live tests and track demonstrations.
Gracing the inaugural session as the chief guest, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), stressed on the importance of reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. He spoke about how biodiesel can support the auto industry and agricultural base of the country, with production of non-edible oil for biodiesel. He assured the automotive industry of all possible support through government’s effective policies, as the sector offers a huge employment base in the country.
In his welcome address, Dinesh Tyagi, Director, ICAT said the purpose of the summit was to meet the needs of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), professionals, researchers, academic experts, vehicle system suppliers, test equipment suppliers, quality managers, product planners, equipment developers and SAE members associated with the automotive sector, as there are multiple challenges involved in moving towards alternate propulsion technologies.
The inaugural session was also attended by senior dignitaries from the automotive industry including Kenichi Ayukawa, MD & CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd; Minoru Kato, President & CEO, Honda Motorcycle India Ltd; Deepak Jain, President, ACMA and Chairman & MD, Lumax Industries; Gunter Fradl, Senior Vice President, AVL and Dr Bala K Bharadvaj, President, SAE India & Managing Director, Boeing Research & Technology – India.
At the exhibition, companies like Honda, BMW, Toyota, JBM showcased their hybrids and electric vehicles, whereas AVL, Denso, Exicom, Keysight Technologies, Greenfuel Energy, Horiba, AVL showcased their expertise aimed at facilitating faster adoption of electric vehicles in the country. From testing and validation equipment to full fledge passenger and commercial vehicles that fall under the ambit of future mobility solutions, the exposition at this year’s summit offered diverse displays from different stakeholders in the value chain. A key highlight at the exposition was MG Motor’s ZS electric vehicle. The vehicle is expected to be launched with a 150 hp electric motor, and a 50 kW DC charger is expected to charge 80 % of the battery in 40 min. MG Motor will be assembling the EV in India to stay competitive with rivals like Hyundai Kona.
During the second and third day proceedings, ICAT also conducted tests and demonstrations across its EMC, PSL and NVH labs. In the EMC lab, test equipment capabilities and RF immunity test, conducted immunity & EFT surge basics were demonstrated, along with GNSS/GSM simulation and testing showcase. Basics of electrostatic discharge and its impact on vehicle as well as demonstrations of radiated emission of design and good practices were explained. At the Passive Safety Lab, seat foam pressure mapping, airbag deployment demo along with ODB crash test were demonstrated. At the NVH Lab, Siemens also conducted a session on methodology to develop vehicle architecture and highlighted impact of changing motors, battery as well as architecture of the vehicle. Alongside, buzz, squeak, rattle testing, in-room pass by noise tests were also conducted by ICAT executives. Interested delegates were offered on-the-job training at these labs to understand the nuances of setting-up and calibrating the various equipment that are used for validation and testing.
Track events were also organised, where Tata Motors showcased its hydrogen powered bus and Olectra, Foton, BHEL lined up their respective electric buses for product experience on ICAT’s newly built track. Track demos of various technologies such as ADAS, ABS, vehicle handling with ESP, AEB were also showcased to offer deeper perspectives about advanced technologies for the Indian market.
The valedictory session of the summit was graced by Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises and Parliamentary Affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal. During his address, Meghwal commended the efforts of the ICAT team for organising a thorough and diversified summit that witnessed participation from various companies across the spectrum of the auto industry. Meghwal also gave away several awards at the event, including the Auto Tech Review Student Innovator of the Year (SIoY) awards, best poster presentation, best technical paper presentation, best exposition displays, etc.
Earlier, addressing the valedictory session, SSV Ramkumar, Director, Indian Oil Corporation reiterated that while EVs are a definite technology for the future, there is a shortage of lithium in the country, which will pose a challenge to battery pack manufacturers. Countering this, Meghwal stated that the government has recently discovered traces of lithium in the Godavari basin, and it is indicated that there may be a significant reserve of lithium in this region. Ramkumar also stated that Indian Oil has been able to successfully test a mixture of CNG and hydrogen that will significantly reduce tailpipe emissions and improve fuel energy optimisation.
Auto Tech Review supported the summit as its Knowledge Partner, and as part of its commitment, it set-up a Student Pavilion to expand the scope of its student-related initiatives. Bright students came forward to discuss their innovative approach in developing newer technologies, displayed their vehicles, and participated in Student Poster presentation and also competed for the Student Innovator of the Year (SIoY) award. This was the 6th edition of the SIoY competition, an initiative instituted as a platform for the industry and academia to come together, interact and benefit mutually. The initiative was aimed at encouraging young engineering students to infuse fresh thoughts through innovative products, processes or systems that the auto industry could leverage. The SIoY encourages young minds to offer solutions to the industry as well as assist the industry create a talent pool of innovators.
A special “Innovator’s Session” was also organised by Auto Tech Review that saw experts from various fields share their experience on the subject of innovation, and its relevance to students. The highlight of the session was an address by Dr Uddhab Kr Bharali, winner of India’s fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri, and a grassroot innovator and inventor with over 150 patents to his name. Demonstrating various examples of his innovations, Dr Bharali said the most complex problems in life has the simplest of solutions – a belief with which he approaches innovation.
The session was also addressed by Dr Abhay Jere, Chief Innovation Officer, Innovation Cell, Ministry of HRD; CV Raman, Senior Executive Director (Engineering), Maruti Suzuki India; Pankaj Dubey, Country Head & Managing Director, Polaris India and Manoj Runwal, Head of Engineering, iASYS.
Dr Jere requested students to capitalise on various government initiatives that help students hone up their skills in various fields and also threw light on student-related competitions organised by his ministry.
The summit saw the launch of the ICAT NuGen Drive Safe Club mobile app by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. The app is an initiative of ICAT NuGen with Drive Smart Drive Safe, an NGO on road safety, to recognise & reward safer driving behaviour. It is claimed to be India’s first collaborative industry platform to provide safer driving scores. ICAT along with Driver Smart Drive Safe, in association with Hella India Lighting Limited, Safety Circle Pvt Ltd and Hindustan Simulators also organised a road safety pavilion at the summit. The road safety pavilion displayed a seat belt convincer, making people aware of the impact when a seat belt is not worn, based on a practical demonstration. Additionally, the safety pavilion also engaged visitors through interactive games and quiz contests based on road safety.
Mobility is poised to undergo a paradigm shift in years to come and is expected to transform itself into a utility-based industry rather than just be a capex-heavy industry. Degrading air quality in major cities, high import of fossil fuel and increasing road fatalities are problems the country is grappling with. There is a crying need in the automotive industry for developing solutions that address such problems before the situation spins out of control. A smoother transit towards a cleaner and greener future of mobility will need forums like the NuGen Mobility Summit to bring together bright minds to design as well as develop optimised solutions for the Indian market.
TEXT: Anirudh Raheja