With vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers gearing up for new mobility challenges, the Automotive Testing Expo in Chennai proved to be a one-stop shop for tech, says Kiran Bajad.
New challenges in the form of emerging technologies like hybrid and electric vehicles, autonomous driving and ADAS are impacting vehicle manufacturers and suppliers across the automotive value chain. Before going to market with a product, testing has become an imperative and industry is keen on modern, highly technical testing solutions to drive vehicle and component development. Which is why the Automotive Testing Expo held in Chennai between January 9-11 this year saw some of the major testing solutions providers, from India and abroad, showcase their latest technologies and solutions. Key exhibitors including Horiba, ETAS Automotive India, Automotive Test Systems, Kistler, CM Envirosystems, DJB Instruments, Siemens, Ipetronik India, HBM India, ARAI, GARC, Instrument Systems and others displayed various testing solutions covering NVH, engine and emission testing, climate testing, vehicle electronic, crash, durability, aerodynamic and battery testing.
This show, which is also organised in the US, Europe, Korea and China, receives core R&D visitors from OEMs and suppliers.
Automotive Test Systems, one of the biggest exhibitors, displayed its core products for vehicle dynamics, durability, powertrain and engine testing, NVH, passive and active safety.
Automotive Test Systems (ATS) was there in full force, focusing on areas such as ADAS, vehicle handling, NVH, passive safety, performance and durability tests and improving speech quality inside the car.
ATS has been supporting OEMs, Tier I supplier and various labs in India in all these areas of testing. Speaking to Autocar Professional, Ramanathan Srinivasan, managing director, ATS, said, “As the automotive industry grows, there is increased spending on R&D by manufacturers and suppliers; this has helped up grow our basic sales and service. We are strong in some niche testing services including vehicle dynamics, road load data acquisition, HVAC testing and engaging with customers to provide the right solutions.”
One area of the ATS stall was dedicated to passive safety. The company supplies all equipment for a crash test right from road cell barrier, data acquisition sensors inside the car, dummies, high-speed cameras, LED lighting system and airbag test systems.
In terms of manufacturing and selling products, ATS has a mixed model – some imports and some developed and manufactured in India (sensor and data logger) which are sold globally.
“The EV market in India is still small but we have started working with most of the Indian companies in supplying systems to test these vehicles on road. As the companies need more facilities and testing support, we will continue to put in more not only in sales of equipment but also our own lab for EV testing,” said Ramanathan. ATS is already working in the autonomous vehicle area, right from development until validation.
National Instruments (NI) displayed Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), Vehicle Radar Test System (VRTS) and Camera HiL Test System technologies. All have been launched in India, specifically designed to help lower the cost of the test, reduce time to market and future-proof testers for tomorrow’s challenging requirements. The NI VRTS demo displayed the automated radar measurement and obstacle simulation capabilities for vehicular radar systems. The NI VRTS system is based on the NI PXI Vector signal transceiver along with a variable delay generator and high-performance mmWave radio heads.
This system, combined with the expertise of Konrad Technologies – NI Platinum Alliance Partner provides a flexible solution to test both hardware and software subsystems of a vehicle, including radar sensors, ADAS subsystems, and embedded software.
National Instruments also showcased technologies like hardware-in-the-Loop validation and electric motor controller HiL and infotainment test demo with the E-Call testing setup.
UK-based Spirent Communications had a wide range of solutions that help make roads safer by testing and verifying equipment and applications for in-vehicle and V2X connectivity. The comprehensive portfolio of sophisticated test solutions included automotive AVB/TSN conformance, open alliance SIG conformance, Autosar conformance, and noise generator for EMI simulation.
Spirent Communication provides network metrics to help designers configure and secure networks
Spirent also revealed what it takes to validate and benchmark V2X applications and test ITS-G5 and WAVE-DSRC as well as e-call and ERA-GLONASS conformance.
According to Ravi Patil, business development manager, automotive, Spirent Communications, “Vehicle manufacturers are adopting Ethernet networking technology for next-gen passenger vehicles. Many automotive applications are time-sensitive and safety-critical, while at the same time vehicle buyers increasingly demand features like cameras, infotainment and radar, prompting automakers to invest in higher-capacity in-vehicle networks based on the BroadR-Reach standard.”
In-car connectivity is becoming a key selling point and the auto industry must ensure that in-vehicle data services are delivered reliably and securely. Spirent helps test, refine and optimise all aspects of in-car, V2V, and V2X connectivity to provide the experiences that modern drivers and passengers demand as Spirent offers unmatched range of solutions for network, connectivity and wireless/RF testing, he added.
ETAS Automotive India displayed key products that focused on important emerging areas such as battery management system for EVs, automotive security, emission, and vehicle ECU software development. According to Mahavir Patil, managing director, ETAS India, “The Indian automotive industry is likely to witness a lot of technological change in years to come. Increasing electronics content in vehicles and higher emission standards are posing challenges. In such scenario, vehicles can’t always be tested on the field but they have to do a lot of simulations where ETAS will play a big role.”
ETAS' vehicle development tools see increasing awareness about vehicle security among Indian automakers.
Security is becoming critical for all types of vehicles and ETAS offers end-to-end solutions. The company is currently working on generating awareness about vehicle security in the Indian market while engaging with a lot of consultancy projects.
Part of the Bosch Group, ETAS provides innovative solutions, engineering services, consulting, training, and support for the development of embedded systems for the automotive industry.
Horiba India, which focused on electrification and BS VI emission norms, is working on both the fronts with Indian customers. Horiba showcased partial flow PLM measurement solutions which find application in engine testing to measure particulate matter. This product, which finds application in engine development and certification, is already seeing demand from Indian OEMs like Ashok Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra and a few others company also displayed a portable emission measurement system for on-road vehicle tests.
Horiba showcased its particulate matter measurement solutions systems.
It has launched a data server management system to help customers integrate and map the data at different locations. A company official said, “Due to the 2020 deadline for BS VI engines, all the engine manufacturers are currently testing and validating their engines. This has resulted in considerable investment in R&D and this is the time for us to really engage with the customer in providing right solutions.”
(This article was originally featured in the 15 January 2018 issue of Autocar Professional)