By: Radhika Arora, senior director, product marketing, Automotive Sensing Division, onsemi
Since its independence, India has been on a march towards reclaiming its position as a leader in technology and commerce. This current moment is marked with India’s arrival on the world stage with the stature befitting of a world leader. The automotive industry has become a key contributor to India’s economic growth adding 49% to the country’s manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP) and 7% overall. India surpassed Japan in 2022 to become the third largest automotive market. Vehicle penetration is expected to reach 72 vehicles per 1000 people by 2025. Not to mention, it is touted to becomes the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) market by 2030.
This spurt of growth in automotive industry is largely supported by friendly government policies, growing concern about air quality leading to EV growth, manufacturing superpower with continuing improvements in infrastructure and skilled labor at lower costs. Geopolitical forces have their roles to play as well. Companies are looking to de-risk their supply chain and implement multi-sourcing strategies. An increased number of automakers are looking to reduce dependance on Chinese suppliers and de-risk their manufacturing due to geopolitical tension. This opens a plethora of opportunities for India as organizations look for affordable labor and more friendly business policies. India now allows for 100% foreign direct investment which is a huge incentive for companies to have more control over the operation of their organizations in remote locations. They have friendly policies both at the central and state level providing subsidies directly to the consumer and reduced road taxes for EV users. The Indian consumer mindset is value-based and, considering competitive costs with subsidies, not only make for a competitive one-time price for their vehicles but more sustained savings as well.
However, India is also home to 39 of the 50 most polluted cities in the world. Fuel prices in India have grown by 30% between 2020-2022. As India imports a majority of its crude oil needs, the Indian government is pushing for a more electric future. According to World Health Organization (WHO), Indian roads have one of the highest fatalities, reaching ~150,000 in 2021 with over 400,00 road accidents. Inferior infrastructure, lenient law enforcements and driving habits largely contribute to this data. What might seem a glum situation also paves the way for a huge opportunity in India to introduce driver assistance features that make a safer driving experience.
EVs, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and ride sharing put us at an inflection point in the global automotive industry, which is equally true for the India market. ADAS features (e.g., lane keep assist, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, rear collision warning etc.) have now become a staple in vehicle offerings globally and somewhat in India. Accurately implementing these safety features is also a function of infrastructure where the government has a huge role to play.
India truly presents itself as a nation of contradictions. There are some of the best built, well-lit highways only to be coupled with long stretches of broken rural roads. This provides some very challenging driving use cases for autonomous technology to thrive in. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has initiated the Bharatmala Pariyojana, an aggressive road development program, with the goal to construct and upgrade over 50,000 km of national highways, enhancing the current road infrastructure.
Another unique characteristic of Indian roads is the mix of traffic type. A study by the World Resources Institute (WRI) India revealed that nearly 50% of urban trips in India are made on foot, bicycle, or cycle-rickshaw, necessitating the importance of training data for ADAS systems based on non-motorized road users. This means technology development must be customized and data collected in the US or Europe cannot be easily leveraged for the roads in India.
Going a level deeper on ADAS technology, most systems are vision-based with cameras being the eyes of the vehicle. onsemi has held the number one market share in this space for many years. It was the first company to introduce high dynamic range sensors targeted towards capturing some challenging corner cases like entering/exiting a tunnel or overpass where you have both shadow and sun in the same frame. Cases like this can obscure a driver’s vision which is why sensors with 150 dB high dynamic range in the camera system can keep you safer than a human driver.
Another point to consider is the performance across operating temperature. Image sensors are notorious for degradation of performance across temperature. As an example, Dark Signal non uniformity (DSNU) which is a critical metric of image quality doubles with every 8 degree rise in temperature. onsemi’s unique pixel technology, perfected over years of innovation and in close collaboration with our automotive partners, has led to the most stable performance across the entire automotive temperature profile.
Safety and security have an equally important role to play. For onsemi, being a leader in providing advanced safety solutions to the industry and delivering safe and secure sensors is part of our DNA. It started with functional safety which we have been focusing on for many years in accordance with ISO 26262 and we have learned the importance of incorporating it at the very onset of design. During development, we inject faults into every node of our image sensors and observe errors never predicted or expected before. Understanding these faults and failures means we have designed all our hardware cores to be able to detect faults and report them to the processor at every frame. This enables us not only to find failures but to do so with speed and accuracy. This mitigates failure from propagating and creating a dangerous situation.
We have extended the same rigor to cybersecurity, preventing hacking or any human interference that would compromise safety. We breakdown the cybersecurity threats intro 4 major buckets – counterfeiting, tampering, bypassing, and eavesdropping. This puts onsemi in a strong position to comply with the recently established ISO21434 cybersecurity standard.
According to NITI Aayog 2021, two-wheeler sales account for nearly 80% of all domestic vehicle sales in India. The two-wheeler segment is defined by scooters and motorbikes. Companies like Hero Group and TVS Motors have not only excelled at providing an affordable mode of transport but complimented it with world class technology for all segments. India, as a result is the largest market for two-wheelers.
Two-wheelers are responsible for maximum road fatalities in India, including 28% of pedestrian deaths in 2022. ADAS is now very much a critical part of the discussion for this two-wheeler segment as well. Ride Vision and onsemi work together to provide a warning system for potential hazards through the behavior of the driver or other road users. Especially in rear-end and intersection situations, the system keeps an eye on the traffic behind or in a blind spot and provides rear-collision warnings. The warnings are produced visually to the driver via red / yellow LED indicators on the mirrors and as an acoustic warning signal via a wireless Bluetooth® connection to a headset in the motorbike driver’s helmet. Other warning functions are implemented for forward/rear collision, left/right collision, distance keeping, blind spot and dangerous overtake.
For any disruption in an existing market, there needs to be proven technology to support regulations and widen user acceptance. The benefits from advancing ADAS technology is seen in the compelling numbers from the American Automobile Association (AAA). Increased adoption and use of ADAS such as forward collision warnings and lane-keeping assistance saved greater than 8,000 lives annually in USA, according to a new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The positive impact proven in the US, Europe and China provides a strong platform for India to build upon. India’s investment in expressways and continued focus on enhancing infrastructure provides standardized markings, signages and predictable road conditions leading to stable ADAS functionality. ADAS features, which were primarily seen in the premium segment, now crawl into the mid segment in India, highlighting user awareness, knowledge and acceptance. onsemi, as a technology provider, can help carmakers and OEMs adapt to ADAS for the Indian market. Now, is the time to rev up for a ride of a lifetime!