Aashish Bhatia: 'In future, mass market vehicles will have Android-based infotainment systems that can offer wireless CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities.'

by Sumantra B Barooah 04 Dec 2020

The global leader in instrument clusters rides on original equipment manufacturers' aggressive strategies in advancing cockpit experience in the Indian market, while also tapping Indian engineering talent to develop solutions for overseas markets. Aashish Bhatia, President, Visteon India details out the long-term plans.

What are the key growth drivers for Visteon India currently?
Technology trends such as connected, ADAS and electric are the three key trends impacting cockpit electronics. These trends have led to increased digitisation of the cockpit.

Talking of consumer trends, one of the primary growth drivers for cockpit electronics in India is the country’s digital appetite. 500 million smartphone users across the country who consume about 12GB of data per month want to see, drive, and travel in technology-intensive automobiles capable of delivering the best possible user experience.

Another interesting observation is there is a larger trend of ever-more-rapid adoption of new technologies over the past 150 years. I would like to quote an interesting example here: While it took 46 years for electricity to reach a quarter of the American population, technologies such as voice assistant have been adopted in less than two years. While I am not sure how many years it took Indians to adapt to electricity, we have adopted voice tech very soon!

The experience of using these technologies in other everyday scenarios makes consumers desire them in their car and also explore new use cases while driving.

OEMs are also responding to consumers’ sentiments by bringing in the latest technology — large displays with rich graphics, over-the-air (OTA) software update capability, and Cloud-enabled apps — inside the cockpit.

Do you see any new trends on the horizon for cockpit electronics components like instrument clusters or infotainment systems?
Large displays, rich graphics, over-the-air updates, and apps have invaded the vehicle cockpit. The cockpit is now evolving into a multi-display connected environment.

The traditional analog instrument cluster with LEDs has now transformed into a digital-display system with 3D graphics, animation, and rich visual representation of critical information such as turn-by-turn navigation, phone, and inputs from the ADAS system.

Infotainment systems, used to be closed and proprietary in the past. Now, even the entry level A-segment cars boast connectivity and apps in their infotainment systems.

Going forward, mass market vehicles will have Android-based infotainment systems that can offer wireless CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. They will also offer apps that you can download from your app store of choice. In addition to this, Visteon is looking forward to implementing our own voice assistant technology in future models that will be embedded within the infotainment platform.

Do you face any challenges in finding industry-ready engineers? If yes, how do you address that challenge?This poses an interesting issue, as, although there is no dearth of talent in India, it is challenging to get the right people who are passionate about what they do and bring their best to work every day.

We have a workforce planning team that works on understanding the capabilities we have, what skillsets we need based on business and technology requirements, and how we develop or recruit people to fill those gaps. While developing our business and customer roadmap, we also design our talent roadmap. This helps us to be more proactive with our hiring needs, and gives us the time we need to recruit the right talent.

Our industry is going through a technology revolution and we need to be nimble and adapt to the speed of change. We are doing a lot of work in India around AI and machine learning and have spent the last couple of years on hiring the right people from diverse backgrounds.

This interview was first published in Autocar Professional's November 1 issue.