Continental Head on the Future Indian Auto Market

Source: The following is an excerpt of an interview with Prashanth Doreswamy, Country Head India, Continental Corporation, Managing Director, Continental Automotive India by the Financial Express. The interview covered a number of subjects including the ever-evolving safety-tech in industry in the Indian automobile market. The entire interview can be read by clicking on this sentence.

ABS is mandatory in two-wheelers above 125cc. What is the next step in two-wheeler safety tech?

The next step in two-wheeler safety tech will be Emergency Brake Assist. Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) compensates for insufficient driver action on brakes. Drivers in emergency situations either apply insufficient pressure or release the brake too early. Not only does EBA address this problem, but it can also reduce stopping distances significantly. Continental is developing an Emergency Brake Assist which detects an imminent collision with a vehicle ahead or with an obstacle, warns the rider, and supports the rider during braking.

In addition, electronic driving aids such as traction control and “cornering ABS” have become a major selling point, particularly in the premium segment. Investment in these complex technologies, as well as the updated guidelines, show that both manufacturers and legislators are determined to set new standards in driving safety for motorized 2-Wheelers. Continental is taking these developments one step further by applying radar- and camera-based advanced rider assistance systems, the use of which is already established in cars, to motorcycles, and adapting these to meet the specific requirements of 2-Wheelers.

Currently, assistance programs for motorcycles focus on rear-end collisions, but will not remain restricted to this in the future.

What new technologies can we expect Continental to roll out in the Indian auto market in 2020?

At Continental, we have a range of solutions that can be future-ready and can be deployed in the market at any time. However, to deploy the same, the markets need to be ready – both in terms of infrastructure availability and demand.

(OcSM) Occupants Safety Monitoring technology is on the roadmap of Continental and in development. It is a valuable extension of today’s passive safety technologies and expected to be available around 2023 for the introduction into the safety systems of vehicles.

New functions, such as HMI (Human-Machine Interfaces), will gain popularity in the cockpit of the future: these will allow better collection and display of data for better driving experience and driver satisfaction.

Another technology from Continental is ADAS. With the biggest engineering presence in ADAS and experience with global markets, Continental is now collaborating with OEMs in India and actively contributing towards the Safety Regulations expected to be effective from 2023.

Now that we have electric cars retailing in the country and the government is taking stricter steps to make safety features mandatory, the automotive market is clearly evolving at a quicker pace than it did before. What kind of evolution pattern can we expect in Indian automobiles in 2020 and the years to come?

India is emerging as a focus market for airbags, Anti-lock Brake Systems (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with the increasing awareness and acceptance in the safety technology. The switch to BS-VI by itself is a move in the right direction. Continental has been supporting OEMs in India, to be ready with BS-VI vehicles in time.

Over the next few years, we can see the amount of electronic content per car increase. This should help offset the drop in volume to a certain extent. Also, the transition from fixed-function ECUs to software-defined ECUs would start.

While the market for connected vehicles in India is on the rise, the infrastructure and ecosystem need to go hand-in-hand. In the age of smartphones, an immediate impact of connected technologies will be the seamless integration of our phones to the vehicle Human Machine Interface (HMI) systems to minimize distraction while driving. Technological advancement with richer displays, natural language interaction and things like heads-up display aid in a better interface and lower distraction.

Industry 4.0 has been a buzzword in the year 2019 and will continue to be a focus in the coming years. Continental is continuously aiming to ensure smarter, more efficient production processes and practices. On the way to the smart factory, Continental is well advanced and already uses Big Data applications, cooperative robots, and automated transport robots. One example of this is we have deployed Collaborative Robots (COBOT), to work in a human-machine team environment.

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