ETAS Automotive, one of the 180 exhibitors at SIAT 2017 which opens tomorrow at the ARAI campus in Kothrud, Pune, is to showcase four main trends – BS VI, electrification, ADAS and embedded security, says Mahavir Patil, the managing director. An interview by Kiran Bajad.
What is the ETAS’ overall theme and focus at SIAT 2017?
As you know, today’s cars have plenty of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) that control every major function such as fuel injection, braking, airbags and driver assistance, among others. ETAS provides solutions, engineering services, consulting, training, and support for the development of these embedded systems in automobiles. Additionally, along with our subsidiary ESCRYPT, we offer products for embedded security in cars.
Headquartered in Stuttgart, we have a presence in 12 countries. Our automotive engineering roots are in Bosch and we are a 100 percent subsidiary. In India, we are present in four locations – Bangalore (headquarters), Pune, Chennai and Delhi.
This year at SIAT, I like to think of our booth as a ‘walk down the future of embedded electronics’. We will showcase four main trends – BS VI, electrification, ADAS and embedded security. We will look at the tooling requirements, the challenges and showcase how ETAS is working on solutions to enable our customers.
The need of the hour is BS VI – we have some interesting products and demonstrations and I urge every embedded engineer to visit us at SIAT and get a glimpse of the future.
What role do you see ETAS playing in the Indian auto industry in the near-term?
The Indian auto industry is going to see increased adoption of electronics. Be it technologies to achieve BS VI, driver assistance, chassis systems or safety systems, all require complex integration of sensors, microcontrollers and software algorithms.
As we adopt more electronics, Indian industry will need tools to design, test, and deploy them on vehicles. This is where ETAS will play a critical role. We provide products and solutions to develop embedded systems. More importantly, we provide customers critical training to develop their competences and support them to manage their embedded systems efficiently.
In the tight run-up to BS VI, Indian OEMs are scouting for greener solutions. What products/solutions does ETAS have for automakers?
I agree with “tight run-up”. Although technologies for BS VI exist, there is significant effort in calibration. So, what is calibration? ECU software is parameterised in such a manner that the behaviour of control and diagnostic functions can be easily adapted to one particular engine or vehicle platform. This is done by changing some characteristic values in function algorithms (called calibration parameters) without actually changing the structure or logic of the algorithms.
With BS VI, OEMs will see high loading on existing infrastructure and people. However, there are tools or levers that can reduce this loading — saving cost, time and increasing efficiency. One such lever with wide adoption in mature markets is ‘Frontloading’.
Frontloading is the concept of shifting calibration work to earlier stages (even before a vehicle is ready) onto ‘virtual environments’. With frontloading, it is possible to execute 20 percent on virtual/simulated environments, 40 percent on test infrastructure and just 40 percent on proto vehicles.
Why do we want to do this? Every package of calibration that can be frontloaded from the vehicle to earlier development phases reduces the need for expensive test vehicles, saves valuable engineering resources and helps locate gaps earlier in development where the effort and cost for correction are still low. This is a huge saving in cost and time with improved accuracy.
Another major lever is automation. If processes can be automated, they not only reduce manual errors but also run 24x7.
Which are the key products relevant for BS VI vehicles in your portfolio?
Our flagship product INCA and related hardware for ECU access that enables calibration will continue to be key as we move towards BS VI. Add-on to this product INCA FLOW affords guided calibration with voice assistance – reducing errors, standardisation of process and enabling IP protection of calibration process. INCA FLOW also allows automation and automatic report generation for calibration validation tasks – like OBD validation. At SIAT, we will showcase a very interesting demo on this solution.
ASCMO, a solution for model-based calibration, allows modeling of the system behaviour of engine which will allow calibration without a vehicle / engine. Don’t miss the ASCMO demo at our booth.
Combining the output of ASCMO models with a Hardware-In-The-Loop system such as our LABCAR, one can create a virtual calibration test bench setup to calibrate and test ECU functions in real time.
E-Hooks Cal converts ECU measurement variables into calibration parameters giving greater control on calibration. All these tools aid in frontloading and offer its benefits.
Is ETAS already at work with OEMs and suppliers in offering BS VI solutions in India?
ETAS is already engaged with most OEMs since 10 years now. We are in talks with all major OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers to understand their strategies and requirements for BS VI. We are in the process of designing solutions that fit their needs. 2017 should see us kicking off many interesting opportunities with OEMs as well as Tier 1 suppliers.
Is ETAS also looking at offering software solutions for autonomous driving? With cyber security becoming a serious challenge for connected cars, what are the ways OEMs can face this challenge successfully?
ADAS brings requirement of different sensors, fusion of sensor outputs, software architectures involving multiple microcontrollers, a huge requirement for recording and analysing data. ECU Access technology XETK is already deployed at an ADAS Tier 1 major.
The camera add- on for INCA will help engineers to playback recording in their trusted tool INCA. LABCAR (our HiL systems) integrates closed loop simulation of all major ADAS sensors — RADAR, LIDAR, Video, Ultrasonic sensors. We have a tool for architecting ADAS software – ISOLAR EVE.
Our subsidiary ESCRYPT is a leading company in embedded security. ESCRYPT offers services such as security assessment, security strategy and architecture, training and security awareness. There are products to help secure vehicles, which can also be customised as per your requirements. Increased connectivity will add demands for security and I see Indian OEMs being very attentive to this threat. Our expert Mr Dennis will deliver a keynote speech on this topic on January 19 at SIAT 2017.
What is your outlook for ETAS India's operations in the near future?
2017 is special for us – we complete 10 years of serving India and being part of the Indian automotive growth story. Our ideology has always been to be close to our customers and partner with them in their journey of embedded excellence. I see many more decades of driving embedded excellence in India.