Investment In R&D Key For India's Future Mobility Growth

Mobility Outlook Bureau
29 Sep 2023
11:51 AM
2 Min Read

Experts from across the auto industry reiterated that investing in newer emerging technologies will be a key to growth for the Indian auto industry, as the country's R&D spend is less than 1% while the US, Germany, and Japan spend 4% to 7%.


Innovation is the key for India to capitalise on in this evolving landscape, and it can happen when manufacturers invest and enhance their R&D, Harish Lakshman, Vice Chairman, Rane Group, has said. 

Delivering a special address at the third edition of the Automotive Innovation Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Southern Region with the theme 'The Future of Mobility @ 2047,' Lakshman said that the US, Germany, and Japan spend 4% to 7% of their annual turnover on R&D whereas, India spends less than 1%. 

Another opportunity for India to tap into is connected vehicles. Stating that connected vehicle is a reality, he said that in the US, 91% of the vehicles are already connected, whereas it is 51 % in Asia Pacific.

Connectivity is the foundation of autonomous driving. Many OEMs are pushing the envelope on autonomous capabilities, with one key aspect being to solve the number of road accidents.

Delivering the theme address, Dr Tapan Sahoo, Summit Chairman & Executive Director (Engineering), Maruti Suzuki India, stated that there are five key megatrends that we see happening in the coming decades.

The first megatrend is climate change and environmental degradation, while the second is demographic change and an ageing population across the globe. India alone stands apart as it has a younger population compared to other countries.

The third trend is rapid urbanisation, with the percentage of people expected to double from 2030 to 2050. Over 18 million people are being added in a year, which is definitely a challenge in terms of infrastructure and solutions.

The fourth trend is digitalisation. Technology is fast advancing, be it 5G or 6G, ML/AL, and so much more that it is difficult to catch up. One has to keep tracking and optimising constantly. The fifth mega trend is India’s rising middle class. India is once again shining as we will have 4.9 billion people in the middle-class segment in the coming decades, he said.

Dr Sahoo continued that the next two decades will see many changes across the globe in terms of mobility and modes of mobility.

A lot of innovation is happening around the world. Multi-modal mobility is what one needs to address as it will improve the environment and efficiency, the length of travel and even the need for travel.

Pratik Shah, Partner, Mobility – Automotive and Transportation, EY India, said that India is today the fifth largest economy and is expected to become the third largest economy by 2030 and the second by 2040.

In terms of per capita income, this is expected to be seven times the present per capita income by 2040. This will reflect in vehicle purchasing and consumption by the general population, he added.

Another aspect to consider is rapid urbanisation, with the population at large moving from Tier-2 cities to Tier-1 and so on. By 2040, it is expected that Tier-2 cities will become Tier-1 cities and Tier-1 cities classified as metros, added Shah. 

P Kaniappan, Immediate Past Chairman, CII Chennai Zone & MD, ZF Commercial Vehicle Control Systems India, stated that Tamil Nadu has emerged as a dynamic hub for automotive manufacturing and innovation, making significant strides that have not only shaped the region's economy but also contributed significantly to the global automotive landscape.

The State has invested in research and development facilities, fostering innovation in automotive design, engineering, and technology, he added.

Focusing on the need for innovative technologies for auto and auto components manufacturing to create a roadmap for the future of mobility at 2047, the summit had a session on Re-imagining Mobility for India @ 100, CxO’s Panel Discussion on Preparing for Future Mobility@ 2047, a fireside chat with Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance, a session on R&D, Technology, Capability and Capacity Building for Future Mobility, and a session on Innovative Solutions and Innovation Ecosystem for Future Mobility.

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