IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Industry Outlook, Latha Chembrakalam, Vice President, Head of Technical Center India, Continental Automotive India shares her insights on the automotive R&D segment, safety of vehicles, the growing significance of automotive connectivity and more.
The mobility landscape is expected to transform over the next 10 to 15 years, with ACES trends—autonomous driving, connected cars, electrified vehicles, and shared mobility—amplifying their impact. In this regard, how is the automotive R&D segment developing today?
The automotive industry
is transforming rapidly and over the next few years, most of the features in vehicles will become fully automated. The vehicles of today feature connectivity, digital displays, advanced safety, and advanced HMI technologies. As we move towards autonomous and electric vehicles, these features will become more advanced and interactive. Digitization and new business models will be additional dimensions, thereby, requiring more features in the same physical space of a car.
This change needs to be supported by vehicle architecture and electronics. Customer experience
is driving the shift in vehicle architecture, with software serving as a crucial differentiator. To keep up with consumer expectations, more and more software is being incorporated into vehicles. The transition from distributed electric control units to server-based architectures in automotive electronics involves more than just a technical advancement. Products, work and development processes, and business models, are all undergoing significant changes.
To fulfill the growing and changing needs of the customers, Research & Development has become an important segment for the automotive industry. It has always been one of Continental’s key focus areas and Technical Centre India’s (TCI) engineers have made significant contributions to the development of advanced technology for India and the world. TCI is involved in several India-level and global-level projects and product development, ranging from a for-the-market solution like one-channel ABS solutions for 2-wheelers to highly sophisticated technologies for domains such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Artificial Intelligence.
R&D is an essential component of any automotive organization. It is one of the most important tools that automotive companies use to differentiate themselves from one another. India's position as an automotive R&D center contributes to a diverse set of market opportunities, talent pools, and industry policies. These factors make India an ideal location for the establishment of several R&D centers, in which many MNC and Indian automotive players are interested.