Engineers in India could be facing a “boom time” as their country’s road infrastructure develops and the automotive industry reaches the stage where digital electronics drives 80% of innovation.
This is the view of R.K. Shenoy, Senior Vice-President, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Ltd, recently expressed in an article in The Hindu.
He also points to two other factors that could help fuel this boom time for India’s engineers. First, the market for automotive electronics is growing faster in Asia than more mature markets. And a lot of the engineering activity is in India.
The other factor is the increased choice now available to Indian consumers. As the cost of electronics in cars comes down, the Indian consumer can afford higher spec cars at very little extra cost.
Opportunities for engineers to address local market needs
“Indian engineers have the opportunity to design features to address specific needs of the local market.”
As India’s infrastructure develops, he thinks India’s automotive market will follow some trends that are rising in Europe. He mentions three things in particular: Green Wave, Platoon Automobiles and the Self-driving Car, all of which are underpinned by electronics.
The Green Wave is where traffic lights (typically three or more) are synchronized so that traffic (at a specified speed) sees a series of green lights allowing it to flow uninterrupted through a number of intersections.
Platoon Automobiles is a way of increasing road capacity by safely decreasing the distance between cars. What makes this possible is electronic – and possibly mechanical – coupling, that allows many cars (travelling as a “platoon”) to speed up or brake at the same time.
The Self-Driving Car, also known as the robotic or autonomous car, can sense its environment and navigate without human input. Mr. Shenoy says demo models already exist, and he thinks we will be driving them – or rather they will driving us – in ten years’ time.
He sees a future where electronics continues to become an ever increasing element of automotive design, thus “increasing the intelligence quotient of the car,” where:
“The car will become an active, transmitting and receiving node of information and data. Standardization and data security will be the new challenges. Collaboration between the original equipment manufacturer, suppliers, government and consumers will be the order of the day to speed up introduction of highly innovative solutions in the market.”
While much of the innovation will be global, there will also be a need for local customization:
“This is where an enormous opportunity presents itself to the Indian engineer,” he concludes.