2012 Electronics Special: Mathworks inks licensing pact with Manipal college

With electronics content in cars fast increasing and the need for shorter development cycles, automotive engineers can drive project speed with MATLAB and Simulink models.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 02 Jul 2012 Views icon2830 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
2012 Electronics Special: Mathworks inks licensing pact with Manipal college
Mathworks India has announced the first Indian campus-wide implementation of MATLAB and Simulink, its flagship products, at Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) in Karnataka. Called ‘Total Academic Headcount’ (TAH), this licensing model gives MIT’s students and faculty with access to the latest versions of MathWorks software. With this implementation, MIT has standardised on the same tools used by engineers and scientists across industries for technical computing, simulation and Model-Based Design.

This is one of the many engagements of Mathworks in India which, as a part of Asia-Pacific, has become the fastest growing region for MathWorks. The company has seen double-digit revenue growth year-on-year for the past several years. It began to sell its products in India through a distributor in 1993. As a result, MATLAB and Simulink have a large user base with approximately over 300 corporate and 1000 educational customers. “A customer base of this size and level of maturity requires direct sales and technical support and this led to the launch of our India operations in November 2008," said Paul Smith, director of consulting services, in an e-mail response to Autocar Professional.

In 2011, Mathworks opened sales offices in New Delhi and Pune. It works with Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra to name a few automotive clients but also works in other sectors such as aerospace (Boeing, Airbus) Continental, government laboratories and services companies. MATLAB and Simulink are also used for teaching and research institutions such as the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, several IITs, NITs and many private technology and research institutions.

Asked what challenges MathWorks faces doing business here, Smith says, “Automotive companies need to meet the demand for conventional vehicles and alternative-fuel vehicles. The electronics content in cars sold here is increasing due to factors such as better fuel economy, higher safety, lower emissions and better comforts. Take the engine management system (EMS) as an example. The competency in EMS is still in its infancy in India. On the other hand, there is significant progress in developing indigenous capabilities in calibration, embedded software. The trend of vehicle exports from India is also on the rise. All of these factors intensify the pressure on Indian automotive engineering designers as they need to accomplish these with smaller teams and shorter development cycles while adhering to both quality and cost requirements.”

Over a million engineers and scientists use MATLAB and Simulink throughout the automotive, aerospace, communications, electronics, and industrial automation industries as fundamental tools for R&D. More than 5,000 colleges and universities worldwide use MATLAB and Simulink for teaching and research in a broad range of technical disciplines.

All in all, the two models' ability to help engineers shrink conventional product development programme substantially is what will help the industry at large.


What value additions do MathWorks’ products bring to its Indian customers and who are they?

World-over, leading engineering companies have progressed from the paper-and-prototype design approach to Model-Based Design (MBD). In the traditional design process, designers rely on physical prototypes to test their designs, and end-up going through numerous time-consuming and expensive iterations during the prototype stage. With the MBD approach, engineers can develop conceptual system models, verify algorithms and make design tradeoffs even before prototyping, thus facilitating a fast and cost-effective transition from concept car to production-ready, fuel efficient vehicles.

MathWorks has been involved with the EcoCar project and wants to replicate that here. Can you elucidate?

EcoCar2: Plugging into the Future is a three-year competition established by the US Department of Energy in partnership with General Motors and Argonne National Laboratory. In this competition, student teams reduce the environmental impact of a Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability. Participants will use MathWorks tools for Model-Based Design to create, model, and simulate their vehicle architecture. Throughout the competition, college and university students will gain practical experience using the technologies employed by today’s leading automotive companies.

I believe we are still to identify a competition of this scale and applicability in India. Yet, we are engaging with engineering students here in several ways. In 2010, MathWorks India supported a student team from K J Somaiya College of Engineering, Mumbai called ‘Orion Racing’. The team participated in Formula SAE, a student design competition organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). MathWorks provided ‘Orion Racing’ with free software licenses and provided a week’s free hands-on training at its Bangalore facility on the usage of the software.

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