SMART TRANSPORTATION-A REALITY IN INDIA WITH CHANGING TIMES
The need to move people and goods from one location to another has kept auto sales consistently strong year after year. The depth of the Great Recession further created a wider platform for the Original Equipment Manufacturers to gain out of the current low car penetration, rising prosperity and higher affordability of end customer.
A total of 599 highway projects covering around 12,903 km of national highways have been sanctioned, incurring an expenditure of Rs 108,000 crore over the next 5 years. Under the Smart Cities Scheme, Government of India has already earmarked Rs 57,393 crore for the project with a proposed budget of Rs 48,000 crore to be utilised for developing first 20 Smart cities out of 90 such cities selected so far. A major component of the scheme is providing efficient urban mobility and public transport system. India plans to build National Highways, Expressways, Mass Rapid Transport (MRT), Bus Rapid Transport (BRT), pedestrian skywalks, walkways, and cycle tracks, in cities. Government has plans to develop
200 low-cost airports in tier-II and tier-III towns across the country.
Plans are also in place to develop 111 river-streams as waterways for coastal shipping to achieve the twin
purpose of reducing freight costs and as well as the road congestion
Technological advancements are helping manufacturers offer many useful features in automobiles.
Today emphasis is on refined engines with high performance,safe design, sustainable/green fuels, adherence to latest emission norms (Bharat Stage (BS) IV in India, Euro VI Standard worldwide), connected cars/IoT, wearable devices, driverless vehicles, and fuel efficiency. Vehicle technologies today, auto technology on sale allows cars to “see” all around, gathering data on possible roadway concerns and giving drivers eyes in the back of their heads. Since most of the crashes involve driver error, automakers created a range of safety systems that aid drivers for brief periods to help avoid accidents.
Driver assist systems include lane departure and blind spot warnings, adaptive cruise control, automatic
braking, telematics control systems and more. Few of the technological advancements made in India include – Anti-lock braking system & Electronic Stability Programme -With a study showing how Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) can save up to 10,000 lives in India and how ABS can play a major part in avoiding most accidents, OEMs and electronic giants in India are on the forefront of the Government asking for these safety systems to be offered as compulsory and standard equipment on all passenger cars in India.
A leading auto component giant in India has also conducted a specific research on how ESP in India
could help reduce accidents and the preliminary results are quite startling. Based on the same study,
it is claimed that up to 70 percent of accidents that involve a vehicle skidding could be eliminated with
ESP saving upwards of 10000 lives in India every year. As per the study, currently, nearly 40 percent of all new cars made in India come with ABS fitted. Whereas only about 4-5 percent of all new cars come with ESP. If automotive manufacturers are serious about road safety, this figure needs to go up drastically in the next few years. Co-incidentally, ABS has already been made compulsory in commercial vehicles from September 1, 2015 with an announcement for ABS in two wheelers over a certain cubic
capacity expected any day now. Automated Manual Transmission – The electronic transmission control unit helps in engaging and disengaging the clutch and gear through an electronic actuator. It also has a sports mode, which enables drivers to move to the manual shifting of gear to increase and decrease the gear ratios with plus and minus either through gear knob /joystick or the steering. Crash Testing – The Government of India is finally enforcing stringent crash test norms to be mandatory for all new cars from October 2017, while for upgrades of existing models, the deadline will be October 2018. New minimum safety norms, including frontal and side crash tests, will apply to all cars —entry level, small and cheaper models. As per the new order by Government, cars would be tested for frontal crash norms at 56 kmph, while for the side crash test, it will be at 50 kmph. Automation & Traceability – Global leaders in the field of automation and electronic components in automotive industry have come up with a wide gamut of solutions in safety components, automation, auto sensors, etc. Automation is now selectively customised and can trace the genesis of the error.
Electrical vehicles As per a study by the Center of Automotive Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, the worldwide trend for light-vehicle production is a gradual shift towards hybrid and electric vehicles. By 2030, 56 percent vehicles produced would use combustion engines, 35 percent hybrid technologies and 9% electric power. Which means a whopping 44 percent of small vehicles would not use a combustion engine to produce energy to run the vehicle.
This would reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions to a significant level. 100% battery-driven electrical vehicles (EVs) are the ultimate goal of the vehicle alternative powertrain development over the next 12-15 years. The focus is towards fuel efficiency and reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. Hence electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles (dual fuel) and fuel cell vehicles seem to be the future of vehicle technology. In India dual-fuel vehicles running on petrol/diesel and CNG are becoming popular.
In the electric vehicle segment,brands like Mahindra, Toyota and BMW have created a presence n Indian market. Indian Government has developed a National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 Which proposes to incentivise adoption of green vehicles and facilitate domestic manufacturing capability in automobile sector. As part of the Foreign Trade Policy, Government is providing subsidy in the form of exemption of duties on parts of green vehicles. The Indian market for electric vehicles is still nascent as the challenge is to augment charging infrastructure in big cities immediately to promote migration to electric vehicles. It has been projected that electric vehicles could account for close to 5 percent of the Indian car market, or 175,000 cars, by 2017, while the global market for the vehicles could reach about 20 million cars by 2020. Considering the slow pace of infrastructural development in India, we still have a long way to catch up with the global standards and technologies.
Connected cars/Internet of things (IoT)
Connected cars provide seamless connectivity between different electronic systems such is infotainment, control systems,safety features and navigation features through internet within the car as well as with outside systems more known as Internet of Things (IoT) technology. In the near future, mobile or wearable devices would be communicating with the electronic systems of the car through the internet. This concept is known as V2X connectivity (Vehicle to Vehicle or V2V and Vehicle to Infrastructure or V2I). It would be imperative to design such systems with an inbuilt security for safety of user data throughout its access and processing. Connected cars technology would encourage collaborations between manufacturers of electronic devices used in cars, mobile devices, wearable devices, IT systems integrators as well as ISPs. The potential is huge and offers interesting possibilities as internet connected cars are on a rise.
Smart fuels and better emission standards
Due to rapid urbanisation, there is an increase in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions contributing to
an expanding carbon footprint and forcing the need for adoption of a clean and sustainable technology.
As a step to control these emissions,the Supreme Court banned the sale of vehicles with diesel engines
of 2,000 cc capacity and more in Delhi NCR. As per estimates from EPCA (Environment Protection and
Conservation Authority) reports, during this period, 7,000 to 30,000 vehicles had been diverted away
from the city, resulting in a 19-20% fall in pollution levels. However, it has also left manufacturers and
dealers with unsold inventory levels and uncertainty in the market.
This has resulted in opportunity loss as well as job loss at dealers. Alternative fuels Bio-fuels, ethanol,
and compressed natural gas (CNG) are clean fuels. Besides these, electric and solar powered vehicles
are also being promoted. Vehicles running on hydrogen as fuel and using fuel cell technology are also
a clean option. CNG has already become a popular fuel in India due to its low cost. However, it needs
infrastructure support in terms of more number of fuelling stations and accessibility. Biodiesel is another alternate fuel with diesel like qualities. It is synthesized through simple chemical reaction of
alcohols with vegetable oils. In India, oil from Jatropha and Karanjia seeds is used to produce biodiesel.
Emission standards India follows Bharat Stage (BS) emission standards. The emission standards are instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion
engine equipment, including motor vehicles. These are based on the European standards and are regularly upgraded following the European standards.The Second Auto Fuel Vision and Policy 2025
notified by Government of India in May 2014 lays the map for fuel emission norms up to 2025. In order to adopt the latest emission standards, Government of India has decided to completely skip BS V norms and has announced to adopt and implement BS VI norms from April 2020. On comparison with other countries, Euro 6 (equivalent to BS VI) has already been implemented in Europe effective 2014. Therefore, besides vehicular technologies and emission norms, other two important factors to be considered in India for reducing carbon emission are periodic inspection, maintenance of in-use
vehicles and better road and traffic management.
Smart physical infrastructure
India has the second largest road network, fourth largest rail network and ninth largest civil aviation
market in the world. The sea port network is also impressive with 13 major ports and 187 minor/
intermediate ports. Ten years ago, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)
established the base for smart infrastructure development in the country. Its next phase is the Atal
Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) launched by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in June 2015. It aims to provide holistic urban infrastructure services such as water supply, sewerage,urban transport and building of amenities in cities to improve quality of life. This is to be implemented over the next five years. Under AMRUT, states will also invest an equal share for the development of urban infrastructure. At the central level, a strict incentive-based approach and release of funds will be followed if the states meet the targets set for the projects. Smart infrastructure includes development of expressways, highways, waterways and improved and efficient sea and air ports. However,the emphasis will be on surface and water transportation as these two are more cost effective means.Major economic activity is generated through freight transportation. In India, the roads remain the primary infrastructure for freight movement (65 percent of freight moves through roads). Besides heavy investment to the tune of around Rs 1,00,000 crore over the next five years in large scale infrastructure development for urban mobility, the government is also building infrastructure to
promote non-motorised transport (NMT) such as bicycles, cycle rickshaws and pedestrian walkways
for city traffic.
Ministry for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways has a target to achieve 2 percent of country’s GDP through transportation sector and creating 15 lakh jobs. Ministry
has also set a target of constructing 30 km of roads per day. Total length of national highways would be
increased from 96,000 km to 1.5 lakh km. Besides national Highways, state highways and rural roads will also be improved and increased at length. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) will augment the road infrastructure in the rural part of India. Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) have been envisaged to augment rail and road networks. High speed rail programs have been successful in Japan, China and several European countries such as France, Germany and Spain.
The High Speed Rail Corporation (HSRC) of India was set up by the government in 2012 to design and
implement the country’s high speed projects. Through this, feasibility studies for various segments of the
‘Diamond Quadrilateral’, a proposed high speed network spanning the country, connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, were initiated.Simultaneously, the government has pushed ahead with plans to develop a segment between Ahmedabad and Mumbai on which it will run “bullet” trains, as high speed trains are often called. According to United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the High Speed Rail solution is also cleaner; CO2 emissions in 2050 are also likely to come down and further emission drops are possible with decarbonisation of electricity.
In general, per passenger km, high speed rail has lower Green House Gas (GHG) emissions than road or
air transport. It also supports lower emissions over the longer term as road and air passengers shift to
trains. However, as the UNEP-DTU (Technical University of Denmark) study says, there is currently a
debate on the impact on short term emissions, which may be high owing to embedded emissions (in
the construction and manufacturing process).
(ITS) Intelligent Transport Systems
Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) involves a number of Information and Communication
Technology (ICT) interventions used for efficiently managing transportation. Major areas in ITS
Passenger information systems: These systems provide real time information to passengers using
a public transport system. Usually the expected time of arrival (ETA) is displayed on electronic sign
boards at the bus stands, MRT platforms or the Airports and Railway stations. Such systems also
sometimes provide information on personal mobile devices for example in the aviation industry and
Indian Railways. This reduces the uncertainty about ETA and eases the congestion at waiting areas.
Real-time parking management systems: Also provide the information related to available
parking lots through a publically displayed electronic sign board. This facility is useful for the staff
of parking lots as well as the endusers. Multi level parking benefits with minimal land use, easy entry
and exit, multi sensors and safety devices offers low operating and maintenance expenses.
Smart cards: Out of the above technologies, smart cards usage has already started in India especially within the MRTs network. Smart integrated cards are under consideration by Delhi and other State Governments.Smart Integrated cards allow citizens to pay for any type of public transportation through
single smart card, ushering into seamless multimodal transportation systems in large cities. Electronic toll collection systems and automated parking management systems have been installed in Delhi at few
locations and in some more cities. The need is for large scale adoption of such smart technologies to
improve public transportation in India. This will open up large-scale opportunities for the semiconductor industry.
Electronic toll collection systems: These are RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) based systems
that read from a distance and automatically deduct the toll at each entry. This technology saves queue-time and fuel cost at the toll gates. It also results in better traffic management by reducing congestion. In India, Mumbai-Pune Highway has this facility and more such electronic toll collection centers are being installed at Gujarat SEZs. This technology will give a boost to industries manufacturing RFID devices, semiconductor chips,and related IT systems.
Smart parking assist: A latest development in vehicles technology is the use of sensors. The chassis
and the driveline are also equipped with sensors and cameras that help in parking. Being a useful technology for inexperienced drivers and learners, the technology increases safety, efficiency and comfort in driving and parking.
Automated Speed Enforcement:The new generation automated speed program is very well implemented in other countries. However, in India it is yet to be effectively enforced. With the congestion and heavy traffic on roads, it is all the more crucial to benefit from the features such as
automated red light, auto traffic management, maximum detection range, multiple car tailgating, etc.
Airport Surveillance & Safety Equipment: It has been an urgent need to revamp the security at
airports not only to thwart any misadventure but also to restore confidence of traveling public in the security of air travel as a whole, which was shaken after 9/11 tragedy. With this in view, a number of steps were taken at Indian airports including deployment of CISF for airport security, CCTV surveillance system at sensitive airports, latest and state of-the-art X-ray baggage inspection systems, premier security and surveillance systems, Smart Cards for access control to vital installations to supplement the efforts of security personnel at sensitive airports.
Radio Frequency Identification (Rfid) In Freight Transportation: Though RFID is not a new
technology, however, India has been slow in developing and using the technology. With the growing
Indian economy, manufacturing and exports have substantially risen and logistics as a function is being increasingly outsourced by manufacturers. However, the Indian logistics sector in many ways still lags the global standards. As per International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Development, India is ranked as low as 46th among 155 countries in the World Bank International Logistics Performance Index. Government’s holistic approach towards logistics sector India has firmed up the contours of its ambitious multi-modal programme to reduce logistics costs and make the economy competitive.
The strategy involves a reset of India’s logistics sector from a “point to point” model to a “hub-and spoke” model and involves railways,highways, inland waterways and airports to put in place an effective
transportation grid. This includes setting up 35 multi-modal logistics parks at an investment of Rs50,000 crore, development of 50 economic corridors and an investment template which involves roping in the states and the private sector for setting up special vehicles for implementation. Union Minister for road transport and highways, shipping and ports said that it is for the first time that his ministry has taken an integrated approach for the country’s transportation. This will increase India’s exports, provide employment opportunities, will be cost effective, and will make goods cheaper in the
country.Sites for the proposed 35 logistics parks have been identified and they will be set up on railways, highways, inland waterways and airports transportation grid. Fifteen such logistics parks will be constructed in the next five years, and 20 more over the next 10 years. They will act as hubs for freight movement enabling freight aggregation and distribution with modern mechanized warehousing space.
Outlook India is poised for impressive economic growth with economy growing at 7.4 percent compared to shrinking western economies. India has emerged as most preferred investment destination in the
world. This is backed by a 550 million young human capital base and strong policy environment.
Greener technologies and India as a manufacturing hub provides opportunities for collaboration
between auto manufacturers and subsidiary industries to reduce cost and improve quality. The central
government has already awarded projects worth Rs 1.8 Lakh crore in last two years for road construction
projects and it was pegged at worth Rs 3 Lakh crore by 2017.
These developments have made the conditions just ripe for a giant leap in the transportation industry
in India. In the next decade, India will reduce carbon emission from vehicular sources, create huge
job opportunities in transport and automotive industry and develop a sustainable and smart transportation system for its growing economic and public mobility requirements. The investments in surface transportation projects will create a world class transportation infrastructure; bring best vehicle technologies, sustainable choices and intelligent transportation system in India. The day is not far when India will showcase its transportation sector to the world.
Sustainable choices for public transport coupled with greener fuels will greatly enhance the quality of
life for the citizens and give a push to the economic activity in the long term.