By APA Bureau
The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), the research association of the automotive industry with the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India, is revamping its research and development works on electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles and on vehicles running on alternate fuels like dual fuel , CNG, Ethanol, bio-fuel etc. It has also taken up lightweight bus development from simulation stage, and the prototyping is in progress.
The research association is also establishing in use vehicle inspection and certification centres in various cities and states. ARAI has taken up studies to evaluate the contributions of the ambient air quality in Delhi NCR region.
With its capabilities matching global standards, the centre is looking at expanding its operational base beyond boundaries. “We will be emerging as a competitive global technology partner for the automotive industry. We have talent and facilities – the key ingredients required for development projects globally,” Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director, ARAI, told AutoParts Asia.
To support the latest trends in vehicle electronics, ARAI has established state-of-the-art facilities and competencies in the area of EMI / EMC evaluation, embedded electronics based development, national and International standard based testing and validations etc., N B Dhande, Senior Deputy Director, Head, Business Development and Corporate Planning, ARAI, said. “Whenever a vehicle has to be developed or converted into a hybrid or electric, the ratings and sizing of the motor and the engine need to be estimated. ARAI has the competency, tools and the expertise to undertake such simulation assignments, based on which different ratings & sizing of the systems or components can be worked out. This enables to minimise iterations and reduces the practical development time,” he said.
For various test instrumentation solutions the centre is equipped with the capabilities to offer configured and customised solution in terms of data acquisition, controls and automation. With its strength in customised designing, the centre has developed proven software and hardware that can meet all national and international requirements with customised features. With this it offers local support for customisation, upgradation, integration and maintenance of different test set ups. Some of the product development service offerings include coolant corrosion test rig, clutch test rig, customised test rigs for structural testing, engine blow by flow calibration rig and data acquisition system to support vehicle development.
Technology Roadmap Projects
ARAI has been working on the development of off-line and real-time simulator for electric and hybrid-electric vehicle applications, and development of electronic fuel injection system for four-stroke, single cylinder gasoline engine and control strategies for GDI and EMS applications. It has an accelerated test programme to predict life of automotive electronic components. It is developing lightweight forging process for auto components to support lightweight components without compromising the functionality.
ARAI is also working on the development of dual fuel (diesel + CNG) engine, HCNG (hydrogen fuel cells + CNG) engine, development of diesel engine using HCCI combustion concept, design and development of high performance three-cylinder CRDi Euro IV diesel engine and direct injection technology for CNG engine.
“As part of its initiative to safety systems, ARAI has been working on the development of integrated safety system, mathematical modelling for chassis and suspension, semi-active suspension, development of electronic power assist system and adaptive front lighting system. It is involved in developing statistical energy analysis for noise control, building a prototype electric vehicle, in small commercial vehicle category, for intra-city application; in the development of controls and transmission systems for parallel hybrid small commercial vehicle; development of fuel cell vehicle architecture; supercharging of small single and two-cylinder diesel engines; low temperature combustion development for BS-6 and combustion development and calibration for Tier-4, Tier-5 and BS-6,” Dhande said.
Meet On Global Technology
ARAI, along with SAE India, SAE International and NARTiP, recently organised the 15th edition of the ‘Symposium on International Automotive Technology’ (SIAT) in Pune. The global meet severed as an important forum for sharing ideas and knowledge about the promising areas of automotive engineering and technology. The four-day biennial international event had 178 exhibitors from India and abroad, showcasing Automotive Products, Equipment, Services and Technology Solutions. During the four days about 170 technical papers, including 40 keynotes, on various subjects, were presented.
As part of the event the organisers flagged off an electric two-wheeler that is powered by lithium ion battery developed by ISRO. According to ISRO officials the battery can be fully charged in two hours and it can give a maximum range of about 110 km, in a single charge.
ARAI, which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee, had a pavilion at SIAT with the theme: ‘Make in ARAI.’ This theme was based on the ARAI achievements in various technology domains. Depicting role & journey of ARAI since establishment, different capabilities of ARAI were displayed at the pavilion as a leading Testing & R&D Institute in India. With various upcoming regulations in safety, emissions, inspection / maintenance , fuel efficiency etc. for different kinds of on road & off road vehicle segments, the pavilion explained to the visitors how ARAI is equipped & ready to serve the Indian and international automotive industry and customers for their testing and validation services and R&D requirement. Pavilion displayed ARAI capabilities on design and development of fully-built engines from Concept to Prototype for an off-road vehicle maker in Europe, Road Load Data acquisition & analysis model of vehicle, Light weighted & optimized forged components, a test cell exhaust after treatment system for BS VI engine development, Rig in Loop, Hardware in Loop & Software in Loop based electronic system development including suspension and exhaust management.
Established in 1966, ARAI has evolved from being merely a testing institute to an advance testing institute, and a research and development centre. It has developed about 50 engines for several applications including off-road and power generators. Currently it is working on several projects including direct injected CNG engines, low-temperature combustion engine, which is an important strategy to comply with the BS-6 regulations. Since the burden on the after-treatment is huge while complying with BS-6 regulations, the low-temperature combustion technology is expected to ease it to a large extent. It is working on different technological options to reduce the strain of the after-treatment since the BS-6 will not have any improvement in the engine per se in the current scheme of technology. A paper has been presented by ARAI at SIAT on this technology.
The research centre will be ready to take up any assignment in vehicle development either as a whole, from the concept to prototype, or in modules. For the global customers it will offer India-specific inputs for vehicle development.
Currently the centre offers Homologation, Testing & Evaluation, and Research & Development covering technology initiatives, end-to-end solutions (in soft apps, database, utility, products and benchmarking), 3D holography and simulations. It also has Centre of Excellence for e-Mobility, skill development and special projects for I & C centre and Air Quality Monitoring. In addition ARAI offers consultancy to a host of customers in OEMs and components manufacturers.
Over a period of time the centre has equipped itself in offering several services under Testing & Validation in areas such as automotive electronics, structural dynamics, vehicle dynamics, engine performance and durability, CAE validation, NVH, materials, chemical, metallurgy, emissions, active safety, passive safety, vehicle performance & endurance and metal forming simulation. It certifies vehicles for emission, safety, noise, vehicle performance, CAE based certification, planning and coordination.
One of the key initiatives of ARAI is in design and development. The centre has emerged as one of the cost competitive design and development centres in the world for engine development, structures, TPMS, CAE simulation, CFD simulation and RUPD.
Dhande said during the 50 years of its operations the centre has generated a data bank on various parameters including anthropometric data for Indian driving population that can enable engineers to design interiors, safety. It also has MARG – Measurement and Road Geometry – of Indian road profile data that is useful for designing of chassis and vehicle structures. The road profile of India is very peculiar. To support the studies on size India Anthropometry Database and Ergonomics, the centre offers 3D whole body scan data of India driving population and 150 plus body dimensions and 5000 plus volunteers. For instance, when an European OEM designs a vehicle for India, it has to meet certain specifications to withstand in Indian road conditions. The road data had been captured in 2-D and 3-D digitised form.
Besides, it has Indian Survey Data and Vehicle Responsive / Duty Cycle Data. Ride Comfort Analysis software, ARAI Vehicle Data Analysis Software and IRI Indexing of India Roads with GIS tools help the customers in mitigating challenges in road and dynamics.
ARAI gives Engine Data Acquisition and Control System that can help customers configure, control, acquire, analyse and test device interface for engines. To augment this it has AC dynamometer and transient test application. It possesses in-depth technical knowhow on port design and optimisation for all emission norms.
ARAI is spread across three locations in Pune. The headquarters in Kothrud has laboratories for powertrain, emission and safety. The Homologation and Technology Centre in Chakan, established under National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP) caters to the present and future homologation and R&D requirements of automotive and off-highway vehicles. The third unit, the FID facility, is also located in Chakan.