Technology to make driving safer by paving way for driverless cars – Economic Times

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2014
After driving to work every morning on chaotic Indian roads, a set of engineers transports themselves to a world where lanes and signs exist to be followed strictly.

Some of them are at the Texas Instruments R&D centre in Bangalore, where they develop chips to be used in increasingly-intelligent cars in Europe and the US. Did you miss the car suddenly stopping ahead of you? No problem, the car will brake for you. Are you too lazy to change lanes to overtake another car? Relax, the car will do it for you too. Both situations demand the use of a set of emerging technologies called advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Now in its infancy, ADAS is rapidly developing into a powerful tool that will drive automobile safety over the decade, ultimately resulting in driverless cars and creating a large business on the way for many companies. Technology to make driving safer by paving way for driverless cars ABI Research last year estimated that the global market for ADAS will increase from $16.1 billion a year ago to $261 billion in 2020. Other analysts have slightly lower figures, partly because of different definitions of ADAS. Frost and Sullivan puts the global market at about $5 billion and the growth rate at about 35% a year.

Although Indian cars may not have some of these technologies for some time, engineers in India are beginning to get busy developing it for European and American cars. Texas Instruments was the first to start work on ADAS in India, and it has expanded its team significantly in the last five years. Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions, which focuses more on car entertainment systems in its Bangalore R&D centre, also has a team that develops ADAS. Auto-component manufacturer Continental is putting together a set of engineers in Bangalore to develop ADAS.

Among the Indian companies, TCS and KPIT have teams that develop ADAS for European and US companies. Says VG Ramakrishnan, managing director in South Asia of automotive practice, Frost & Sullivan: “ADAS is an important component of automobile technology and will revolutionise the way we drive cars.” Driverless cars are the dream of many automobile companies, and of a few industry outsiders like Google.

However, industry veterans feel that fully-autonomous cars are too complex and expensive to be used in real traffic conditions, as they would need to handle too much data and use very expensive technology. No analyst or industry insider expects driverless cars to come on even American or European roads in two or three decades, but limited autonomy is possible and has plenty of uses.

It can make driving safer and more pleasurable, especially on well-designed road networks like in Europe, Japan or the US. It has its uses even on Indian roads.

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