Accelerating digital transformation through simulation, ET Auto

<p>SAE India's International Automotive CAE Conference 2023, themed 'Road to Virtual World'was moderated by ETAuto's Consulting Editor Sumantra Bibhuti Barooah.</p>
SAE India’s International Automotive CAE Conference 2023, themed ‘Road to Virtual World’was moderated by ETAuto’s Consulting Editor Sumantra Bibhuti Barooah.

New Delhi: As the scale and the scope of work are increasing and the speed at which change is happening, the requirement of product development is going to be enormous for the engineers. It becomes very important that the skill of people who are going to do the development and the synergy between different partners is going to be extremely important. Therefore, the dependence on virtual validation and simulation is going to be extremely critical for automotive development, especially for edge cases, says Tapan Sahoo, Chairman- SAENIS, and Executive Director, MSIL.He was addressing a panel discussion at SAE India’s International Automotive CAE Conference 2023, themed ‘Road to Virtual World’, moderated by ETAuto’s Consulting Editor Sumantra Bibhuti Barooah.

Sahoo explained how electrification and ADAS would be the key drivers in terms of faster adoption of virtual technologies, in what areas and how. The two trends–electrification as well as assisted or autonomous mobility from level 1, going up to level 5, the three key areas which are changing are, three S’s, Scale, Scope and Speed. Taking example of passenger rate, today, we are at about 3 million, hoping 6 million to 7 million by 2030. In the next seven years it’s going to double.

The product portfolio of 150+ brands in the country today would go up at least to 300. There will be electrified vehicles, n CNG and flex fuel vehicles, hybridization, and also some hydrogen prototypes, he said.

“If we look at all these powertrain options, the scale and the scope of work is increasing for the engineers. The speed at which the change is happening today, prediction for electrified vehicles in India is 7% to 18% by 2030. The jumps are over 150 times. Therefore the requirement of product development is going to be enormous for the engineers. Therefore, it becomes very important that the skill of people who are going to do the development and the synergy between different partners is going to be extremely important.”

He then talked about active safety which is another area of experimentation which is very challenging because all the scenarios cannot be covered simultaneously. And therefore, the dependence on virtual validation and simulation is going to be extremely critical for automotive development, especially for edge cases.

“I’m just keeping the shared mobility aside from affordable mobility, of course we have to work on localization, making sure that we are making products which are affordable in India. People can buy it, but we do work on shared mobility which is another kind of ecosystem. But ADAS development as well as electrification is going to be two key drivers for the product development in India going forward,” Sahoo added.

Sahoo addressed the point of the entire ecosystem coming together by saying that: “I think, for virtual simulation, there are two challenges at the high level. First is the correlation between virtual testing and the real world, and the second is to understand why something which happened in physical testing could not be detected in virtual testing.”

“My request to all the leaders of our solution providers is that, let’s look at something which is universally applicable, and once done by the engineers can be applied in any kind of simulation.”

Dr. Pankaj Priyadarshi, Group Director, VSSC- ISRO, when asked about cross border exchange of technologies happening among sectors, and the areas where he thought the automotive sector can benefit from, replied that the learning process can happen both ways. He said that the kind of speed at which the auto industry comes out with new designs is fabulous and the Aerospace industry can actually learn a lot from it.

He added that the way in which the auto industry consistently manages to come up with new designs which are safety-certified, must be having very good management practices, very good modelling background, efficient use of simulations and validation through tests.

“What little we can offer is perhaps the kind of rigor in reviews which demand teams to show unambiguously on paper, through simulations, through sub-system level tests that the system will perform as promised because there’s no scope of retesting and the stakes are higher,” he added.

Vishwanath Rao, Managing Director, Altair Engineering India, said, “If you look at the idea of reducing the weight or the minimum weight for the maximum performance. It was probably pioneered by the aerospace industry, aviation industry, because everything that flies has to be at the lightest possible weight. But if you look at the automotive industry, the challenges and the requirements of light weighting were very different because it was mostly driven by cost.”

“You consume the least amount of material, you make it as cheap as possible, you save half a kilo on a part multiplied by X number of quantities, and that gives you economy to scale and everything else. So the challenges were very different, and the way technology was adopted was also very different. But the market difference that I see is the automotive industry is extremely process driven. They know how to productionize things because they produce in large volumes.”

“If you ask me, the two top trends that our customers are looking at today from an automotive perspective are Electrification and Sustainability. I think these are two very critical topics that every OEM today is talking about,” he added.

Nagesh Poojary, Business Advisor, IPG Automotive, when he was asked how he sees the trend of ADAS progressing in kind of paving the road for Level 4 and Level 5 and how virtual technologies can play a role there, said: “Autonomous driving is extremely important. But the research also says that even if you get autonomous cars on the road, it will only reduce accidents by 20%. I think around eight to nine billion km they have to drive to achieve that. The question is now sustainability as well.”

“If you have a fleet of 100 cars and you are driving at around 40 km/ph, 24 hrs a day, then you need around 225 years to cover that much and then the cost associated with that, that’s exactly where the simulation is extremely important.”

The topic of lightweighting is also seen under a very different lense and much more sensitive because of the electrification megatrend. Every gram saved means a few meters of extra driving range. So from that perspective also, the adoption of virtual technologies and simulation technologies makes it all the more important to achieve those results intended gains.

Prashant Rao, Director, MathWorks India, said, “The aerospace industry was already bringing in software into their vehicles way before automotive did. Probably you had 100,000 lines of code running on your systems and autonomous driving, and the aviation version of autonomous flying has been in practice for a long. So that was when probably the code that was in your car was probably the digital controller for your LCD display or for the radio and your FM tuner. Things changed, of course. ABS came in. It was already software driven digital motor injection systems and so on.”

“At a certain point now, aviation is probably at a point where you have probably one to 10 billion lines of code. And in vehicles, in automotive vehicles, they are now talking of if you’re going to go to level 5 autonomy, some OEMs are saying that will require 1 billion lines of code.”

That is not manageable just by one industry player. The entire ecosystem has to come together. So that’s where the OEM, the tier one, the semiconductor vendors, tools providers, engineering services, we all have to come together to be able to enable that,” he added.

Mandip Tack, Managing Director, IDIADA India was asked how is the adoption of simulation technologies going up and with the latest development of India also getting its own NCAP, what does he think will influence the adoption of simulation technologies?

He replied: “I think that it’s already happening, we’re already bringing in some level of testing in a virtual world within the vehicle dynamics processes using driving simulators”

“This is happening as a standard part of processes in the industry today, integration of testing facilities into the virtual process is ongoing at the moment, and it’s something that needs to continue,” he added.

Tack also said that, “There are several crash labs in India. With BNCAP in place, this will inevitably mean an increase in the number of crashes required to assess the performance of the vehicle. Up until now, all the tests have been done by global NCAP authorities in Europe. So that will now stop and then tests hopefully be executed here. We’re hoping to collaborate further with ARAI to help them improve their cash capacities.”

Renji Issac, Sr. Vice President, CEAT Ltd. on being asked about how developments like lower resistance tyres required for EVs that are more durable and have high torque characteristics influence the adoption of virtual technologies, and the increasing need for lower carbon footprint impact the tyre industry replied:

“For a common man, a tire looks like a black round thing. But the people who know physics and the material technology know it is a complex composite. So we need to make informed decisions for any change.”

“Therefore, we use finite level simulation in a big way. Not only CEAT, but most of the companies start the development with finite level simulation only when it reaches a certain level of targets achieved in the virtual world.”

  • Published On Oct 20, 2023 at 05:29 PM IST

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