The transformation to the next generation of mobility is likely to be drastic. Newer stakeholders outside the traditional automotive industry will continue to disrupt the industry landscape, while OEMs are increasingly focussing on newer technologies shaping the landscape, zeroing in on the relevant ones as well as infusing long-term investments for their development. Given the rapid penetration of connectivity, vehicles are getting empowered with newer capabilities through seamless and spontaneous interactions without vehicles on road. Transportation continues to serve as the backbone for fast-paced lifestyle as people are heavily dependent on better transit facilities and new innovations in the auto sector, given the traffic and pollution problems plaguing the society.
The Smart Mobility Association (SMA) had recently organised Smart Tech 2019 - a two-day symposium on vehicle tracking technologies at New Delhi. The event deliberated on various developments in the vehicle tracking technology space, future of navigation, smart transport and telecom applications in India as well as across the globe. SMART Tech 2019 was supported by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) and Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) Limited. The conference attracted over 250 delegates from diverse backgrounds such as automotive, IT & telecom, mobility, etc.
The ever-increasing thrust on digitisation has been a driver of India Inc, which has drawn up plans to invest around ` 1.91 trillion for development of smart cities, while focussing on road constructions, fleet tracking, traffic management that will need a vehicle tracking technology for safer travel in future. The global automotive industry has been witnessing growing penetration of vehicle telematics that is fast emerging as an integral part of the connected car technology.
The Smart Tech 2019 featured six knowledge-sharing sessions as well as two panel discussions, focussing on updates in vehicle tracking & navigation, telecom connectivity & Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), intelligent vehicles, smart cities/smart mobility, value added services/autonomous vehicles and related regulatory mandates. Further, the symposium dwelt on industry-relevant topics such as IoT-enhancing customer experience & safety, futuristic application of vehicle tracking and e-sim for vehicle tracking applications.
BULLISH ON FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES
Artificial intelligence and connected technologies have led the transition of vehicles from being mechanical to being smarter. The automotive industry is witnessing increasing penetration of electrical and electronics in vehicles on the back of advancements in the IT industry.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Dinesh Tyagi, Director, ICAT said the emergence of connected vehicles and shared mobility has been largely powered by strong IT backbone as well as access to affordable internet and devices. Tyagi also took the opportunity to announce that ICAT will be investing ` 45 crores in its electrical and electronics laboratory as well as in the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) lab.
Global projections for connected devices will vary from 24 bn to 50 bn by 2030. India is poised to reach 2.6 bn of connected devices by 2020, as per the national digital communication policy announced in 2018. Connecting the physical objects with virtual world with ever-evolving interoperable information and communication technologies continues to pose a challenge for all stakeholders. B Bhanot, Head- Telecommunication Engineering Department (TED 28), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), stressed the need for capacity building in Intelligent Transport System (ITS) and its recognition as a subject in educational institutes.
He added that ITS has to be supported by implementation through trained officials, since data collection and security are of prime importance. Each stakeholder in smart city projects is having their own pilot projects, and thus, there needs to be intercommunication among each of them and a common architecture on the top for smooth execution of projects, he noted.
Arvind Chawla, Sr. DDG, Telecommunications Engineering Centre, Department of Telecommunications, elaborated on how proliferation of sensors and data generated in connected vehicles will provide a sense of security to the user. This data is also useful for all vehicle owners, vehicle manufacturers and government, as per their respective requirements for enhanced customer satisfaction, he pointed out. Chawla stated that smart infrastructure will require such systems to work in tandem and will lead to spillover of such technologies to other sectors such as power, infrastructure development and waste management.
Smart Tech 2019 was graced by notable speakers and panellists including Apurbo Kirty, CAE, Sr. GM, Mahindra & Mahindra; Yash Pal Sachar, GM, Honda Cars; Mahesh Gautam, DGM Sales, Ashok Leyland; Alok Jaitley, Vice President, Maruti Suzuki; Anshuman Roy, Director, Business Development – Telematics and Smart Transportation, Rosmerta Autotech; Bhupesh Kanyal, Country Head, Panasonic Automotive; and M Ramshekhar, MD & CEO, DIMTS.
The discussions also threw light on how vehicle tracking technologies can reduce operational costs, as businesses continue to seek innovative ways to reduce wastage involved and refine their respective processes. The Indian government has already initiated implementation of AIS-140 standard compliance in all public service vehicles.
The panel discussion on the opening day of the event focussed on the key challenges in implementing AIS-140 standard compliance, while the panel discussion on the second day delved deep into policy frameworks for ITS in India. An exhibition displaying smart technologies and devices was also launched on the sidelines of the conference.
Data is at the heart of connected devices and requires tangible efforts for security and privacy, as customers are shifting to low-cost digital channels. The rapidly increasing vehicle population in India puts a strain on traffic management across cities and towns, which only underpins the significance of data for a safer tomorrow.
There is a need for R&D standardisation in India, especially where natural resources are involved. The use of m2m communication and IoT technologies along with ICT infrastructure for vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communication, vehicle to fixed infrastructure (V2I) will provide real time data and make the automotive segment smarter and safer. There was a clarion call for a unified standard system, where all industry stakeholders including OEMs and suppliers work towards removing duplication of pilot projects and other complexities in the auto sector.
The automotive telematics space is still looking at investments for innovation to thrive and monetise data assets that will pave the way for a sustainable future.
TEXT: Anirudh Raheja