The automotive sector is in the midst of a technological revolution and the ordinary four-wheeler loaded with gizmos and embedded systems is attracting new players including content providers and service providers, said founder and chief executive officer of Spitzer Group, Richard D Spitzer.
Addressing a conference on Innovation and Business Excellence in Automotive Industry, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Wednesday, Spitzer said that the technology revolution had attracted players from different sectors who want a finger in the automobile pie.
Automobile manufacturers are now coming up with third generation technologies like location-based services, intelligent POI (Points of Interest) family tracking, voice enabled social networking and full Internet capacity, he said.
Interestingly, India, particularly Chennai, is emerging as the design and innovation hub of global carmakers. Firms like Nissan have designed their new model Datsun in Oragadam. “It is locally made and the frugal design is being done by engineers from Chennai,” said Vincent Cobee, vice-president, Datsun Business Unit, Nissan Motors, Japan.
Narayan Sethuramon, chairman of the CII, Tamil Nadu and managing director of WF Industries Ltd., said that there was a shift in focus on creating new functions in a car by networking existing components and modules.
Sethuramon also added that auto makers were investing heavily in research and development. “It is estimated that auto industry will spend an additional $20 billion by 2015,” he said.
He said that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can help the automotive industry providing superior quality products and services to consumers. Today, ICT has become an integral part of the product and virtually the backbone of the industry. “The recent launch of the Google car is a clear testimony to that,” he said.
While firms are trying to upgrade the technology in cars, many like Nissan are banking on frugal engineering to tap the untapped Indian middle class market. Cobee said that Datsun engineers in Chennai had come up with a mobile docking station.
“This is to connect the smart phones which already have the latest technologies to offer. So instead of going in for hi-tech devices, they can use their smartphones to avail of the hi-tech facilities in their car,” said Cobee, while highlighting Nissan’s business strategies.