In the past 18 to 24 months, there have been several setbacks for the Indian automotive industry. The Pandemic was one, the change in user preference from owning cars to opting for ride-hailing services, and the ongoing semiconductor shortage are to name a few. This has not only affected India but on a global scale.
In the recently concluded Connected Mobility Summit conducted by Express Mobility and The Financial Express, industry leaders with expertise in the ADAS and autonomous vehicles met. The panel consisted of:
Jaidev Venkataraman – Head of Engineering – Sensorics, ADAS BU, Continental
Laksh Parthasarathy – Global Head, CASE Industry Segment, TCS
Gaurav Gupta – CCO, MG Motor India
Apurbo Kirty – CoC & Head of E&E, CVBU, Tata Motors
ADAS – Connecting Transportation for Improved Safety
Frost and Sullivan, the American business consulting firm, surveyed to predict the growth and penetration of ADAS systems in vehicles. “By 20205, we expect around 24 million cars equipped with ADAS Level 2 and above in the global market,” said Kaushik Madhavan, the VP, Mobility, South Asia for Frost and Sullivan, while moderating the panel discussion on ADAS.
The market and technology trends show that insurance companies will play a big role when it comes to ADAS and autonomous vehicles. “OEMs are also spending significantly on an in-house autonomous software stack that can be upgraded in the future,” adds Kaushik. Globally, ADAS will evolve differently depending on the region and the framework present. Kaushik also adds, “Detecting, Processing, and Feedback will be the three pillars of ADAS and autonomous driving.”
Also, as per the forecast, Honda, GM, and Hyundai are three auto manufacturers to look out for when it comes to autonomous driving. Honda has a certified L3 vehicle, the Honda Legend, while GM is looking at offering semi-autonomous driving features in almost 22 vehicles by 2023. Hyundai is looking to launch a vehicle equipped with L4 by 2024-25.
Auto component manufacturers to look out for will include Bosch, Continental, and ZF. “What’s also interesting is that software companies such as Aurora, Argo AI, and Xilinx are partnering with OEMs to offer ADAS and autonomous vehicle development,” says Kaushik.
Some of the key takeaway points from Frost and Sullivan’s forecast are — OEMs are working on developing software in-house, but are also seeking contributions from other software companies. By 2025, one in every five vehicles in the developed markets will have ADAS L2 or higher.
“There are a plethora of startups launching new vehicles in India and globally. They are the ones driving innovation in an accelerated manner,” says Laksh Parthasarathy, the Global Head of CASE Industry Segment at TCS. “India has the highest acceptance level or customers looking for automation in L2 levels compared to China, as per a study by Deloitte,” he adds.
On the other side, when looking at OEM suppliers such as Continental, “around 2000 engineers are working on ADAS technology,” says Jaidev Venkataraman, the Head of Engineering – Sensorics, ADAS BU, at Continental. He adds, “In an R&D perspective, we are able to understand the ADAS technology better by participating globally, and bringing it to India will be easier.”
“Every society needs to form a vision towards accident-free driving, but to do so, we need a road map. We need to define this road map clearly and understand how we need to progress from L1 to higher levels,” says Jaidev.
“For a country like India, ADAS is a must,” says Apurbo Kirty from Tata Motors. “Considering India, we will need to take it step-by-step, as India’s road and traffic conditions are different. We cannot implement global technologies directly in India. We need to have India-specific research and image processing.”
In India, safety has never been a priority, however, this is changing in recent times. Take MG, for example, the Hector came with internet options, and the latest offering, the Astor, features ADAS Level 2. This is the only vehicle apart from the Mahindra XUV700 to offer such safety levels.
Before bringing the MG brand to India, the company had to look at the brand’s DNA, which was auto technology, back in the day. “With the Hector, we experimented with the Internet Inside technology, and it worked out well,” says Gaurav Gupta, the CCO of MG Motor India. “With the introduction of ADAS in the Astor, I think it’s a step towards the democratisation of ADAS. Once consumers experience technology like ADAS, they will like it and talk about it. And as they talk about it, it will lead to demand, which will ultimately lead to faster evolution.” Gaurav adds, “We always advise the drivers that these systems are to assist and are not a hands-free option. The driver is responsible for safety.”
One question remains — what should come first? The technology or the infrastructure? “Investments have to be parallel,” says Laksh. He says how autonomous vehicles will be seen in off-highway vehicles such as mining trucks and construction vehicles, while the adaptation in passenger vehicles will take time.