Continental to supply rear parking assist sensors to Indian carmakers

The Tier 1 major will serve an Indian passenger vehicle OEM with rear-parking-assist sensors from its plant in Romania before considering localisation of the technology in India.

By Mayank Dhingra calendar 24 Feb 2023 Views icon3688 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

German Tier-1 major Continental is to diversify its India market product portfolio and kick off supplies of ultrasound rear-parking-assist technology sensors, starting with an Indian passenger vehicle (PV) manufacturer, likely next year. The company says that it will supply these sensors, which are mandated by law in India for every passenger vehicle OEM as a standard fitment in all cars, from its Romania plant.

While the RPAS or rear parking-assist system mandate came into enforcement in India in October 2019, and mandated all PV OEMs in the country to equip their new as well as existing models with this system, has Continental been somewhat late in considering this as a key business opportunity in the fast-growing Indian car market?

“Nothing was really stopping us . . . it is also dependent on the evolution of volumes,” said Manja Greimeier, SVP, Head of Segment ADAS, Autonomous Mobility Business Area, Continental in an interview with Autocar Professional.

“We are currently in discussions with our potential OEM customers, and are going to supply the first RPAS products in the Indian market around the 2024-25 timeframe. This will be a big addition to our local product portfolio,” she added. “To start with, we will provide this product from one of our existing locations in Europe, but to scale our local volumes, we need to reach out to the maximum number of OEMs operating in the market, before considering localisation,” Greimeier mentioned.

“But it will not take us any longer to make that happen as there is a strong willingness from our side and combined with the volumes, localisation is the only way to be successful in India as it is a highly cost-competitive market. We are looking at scaling our business and industrialising the ultrasound rear-parking sensors in the country,” she said.

Greimeier added that the Tier-1 automotive giant will also look beyond OEMs and engage with start-ups to leverage India’s innovation mindset and integrate into its global development of products to accelerate the pace of introducing new technological solutions in the country.

Bullish on ADAS market potential in India

The head for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous mobility solutions at the German technology company also foresees tremendous potential of ADAS solutions in Indian market which is already seeing an accelerated adoption of such systems. “The evolution of such systems is extremely fast in India and things are happening very quickly with a number of global PV OEMs already having launched up to Level-II ADAS-equipped vehicles in the market,” said an optimistic Greimeier.

For instance, the MG Astor and Gloster SUVs come equipped with Level-II ADAS features that heavily rely on radar and cameras to offer safety to occupants by providing features such as forward-collision warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.

“We are also driving this market with our solutions such as the intelligent rear-view camera for enabling functions like rear cross-traffic alert, and automated parking. We see short-range radars offering a lot of benefits for the Indian market for features like blind-spot detection and with our product portfolio, we are seeing a lot of positive feedback from OEMs,” remarked Greimeier.

“At the same time, we are looking to introduce more affordable and cost-effective ADAS solutions for the Indian market to scale our ADAS business in the country,” she added. With a strong focus on innovation and leveraging India’s talent, Continental is developing new solutions at its Bengaluru-based Tech Centre India where engineers across various domains are connected to the Group’s global teams.

“We have a very strong innovation team in India with talented engineers who are developing new solutions as well as conducting project management, system engineering, vehicle testing and software development for global markets such as Japan, Europe, Americas and China. This team is supporting all markets, and has the capability to also serve the domestic market in India, which is one of our key priorities going forward,” concluded Greimeier.

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