AAA - Advanced Automation in Automobiles

Executive Summary

Technology development is a continuous evolution and keeping pace with the technology is even more challenging. Development effort are always towards new discoveries and realizing the near impossible with multi-billion dollars budgets.

The novices are constantly surprised with mobile office, telecommuting, human cloning, advances in guided missiles, flat screen HDTV, DTH and the list is endless. However there is huge gap between technological capabilities and what we have realised so far out of these capabilities ….



Besides, the time to bring these technologies into “Affordable & Usable” form is too long. As a result by the time we get ready with realisable technology, further technological advancement makes it difficult for the interim solution.

This often becomes a vicious circle and it is time that focused and concentrated efforts are employed to develop products through these realisable technologies. In the automobile sector, one there an acute need of interdisciplinary technologies like instrumentation, electronic hardware both digital and analogue, software development, ergonomics, budgets and costs and market trends.

The Indian automobile industry is in top gear. The key drivers providing a turbo thrust to the sector are:

• A buoyant economy
• Higher replacement demand
• Better market penetration
• Tough competition leading to better services/products
• Rising exports
• A rise in rural income
• Easy loans

The surge in car sales has been phenomenal in recent times. Long gone are the days when all you could get was an Ambassador or a Fiat (Premier). Umpteen no of new cars, that suit all budgets, are now available in the country.

From Ambassador to the Maybach, the Indian car industry has come a long way. It is now one of the fastest growing automobile markets in the world. In 2003-04, the domestic passenger car sales zoomed 29 percent to 696,207 units from 541,496 units last year. The cut-throat competition paved the way to innovative marketing tactics and new strategies, benefiting the consumers in a big way.

Looking at the current scenario we at Emerging Technology feel that developing innovative automotive solutions for the Automobile Industry would help the client leap from well ahead of the competition. We have a product precisely which will meet all the requirements to take an enterprise well ahead of their nearest rival.

Objective

The objective of the proposal is to:
• Create an innovative product which is technology backed
• The "add on" cost should be at an affordable cost compared to the other accessories available in the market place
• The features should help the users to reduce maintenance and operational costs
• Reduced installation time - less than a day
• Can be fitted on new cars as well as old cars
• This addresses almost all the features that the car owners are looking for all these years

User Interface

The user interface in the automobile industry is for:
Viewing, Reading, Listening

Monitoring and controlling

Corrective action

The visual indicators should not only draw the attention but also prompt you for appropriate action or even lead you to take corrective action.

All the read-outs, be it dash board or any other should be quick in appreciating the reading. Digital gives out more accurate reading but analogue is known to have faster appreciation.

The audio alarms too should have the right decibel to make its presence felt.

Success Parameters

Success parameters too are very well defined like the business parameters.
New innovation / Never before

High profitability / Mass market

Scalability of business / Migrating to Blue-tooth technology

Internet cloud of machines, equipments and appliances

Higher degree of interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise is required to create such a product. The aim is to develop enabling technologies for existing product to place them miles ahead of competition by enhancing capabilities, introducing advanced features, reducing manual intervention and finally creating an interactive car which can see, talk, listen and also have entry level robotics!

Business Case

The ingredients of a strong business case for higher success probability in any sector are:
Increased profitability, Reduced costs, Reduced Manpower

Faster RoI (Return-On-Investment)

The other parameters that make good business sense are to improve quality life, life style, response time and efficiency.

The market opportunity will be two folds; since the feature set is “Never Before” there will be increased sales and as the competition does not have these features, one can ask for a premium. So the game is High Volume High Value!

The features that you go through are a result of brainstorming over a long time frame and am more than convinced, this is a truly winning proposition. The fact is, the business DNA aligns with the definition of a successful business.

Product Philosophy and Approach

Technology of “Re-Usable Objects”

The system will comprise of H/W with associated S/W. Both these components will be carefully designed to meet large subset of applications by adding required H/W and S/W to go along with it.

The total development effort will be reusable making RoI (Return-on-investments) a continuous process and will continue to earn revenue long after the investment is recovered. This will help reduce development time of a new design and requirements leading to, long term realization of onetime investments.

There will be ample opportunities to develop and own patents and IP rights.

The proposed product offering will result in increased market share, enhanced brand image, product valuation and appreciation amongst customers. The sales cycle for the new product will be smaller implying shorter “shelf Life” than that prevailing at the moment.

Embedded Technology

Standard motherboard, sister boards and daughter boards will be designed architecture. This will offer tremendous flexibilities in creating new configurations. The S/W will be available as modules and will be relocate-able code. Some of the features of a complete system will be as follows:

  • Scalable architecture of prioritization for interrupted or polled event servicing
  • Modules/Subsystem based approach to render flexibility in building new configurations
  • Minimum power consumption. This will help reduce size of battery backup
  • CPU, RAM, I/O, Event handling, Interrupt processing, Digital to Analogue Converters AND Analogue to Digital Converter (D/A & A/D)
  • ROM, EPROM, E*EPROM for temporary and permanent storage
  • Data storage (online or offline) will be a function of application, size of storage, archival and clean up philosophy
  • Data transfer through serial, parallel or USB ports

 “Needs” & “Wants” are two sides of the same coin. Need is generated because of want. For example, when mobile phones were first introduced into the market it was viewed as a luxury item. But slowly as people started understanding its utilities, mobile phone became a necessary device for communication & thus need became want.

Similarly there are certain spoken & unspoken wants of Indian car consumers, which if catered to will soon become an essential feature in any car. We at Emerging propose to cater these “wants”.

Proposed Solution Approach

The total solution will be modular consisting of subsystems communicating with the central CPU. It will be a distributed computing environment with a central system, which will collate the parameters and initiate action for alarms, display, data logging and learning.

The sensor at the wheel will provide required digital signals, which the CPU will compute and translate it to the derived parameters like speed, distance and tyre pressure.

The sensor outputs from level indicators and temperature will go to individual signal conditioner generating a current or voltage signal, which will be fed to normalizing amplifiers. These amplifiers in turn will render it to analogue multiplexing unit capable of handling up to eight such inputs. The multiplexing unit will pass the signal to the A/D converter for onward processing. 

New Concepts leading to USP

Black Box

The car will have a black box akin to that of an aircraft will help evaluate accident causes.. Like the black box in an aircraft, the travel history can be logged continuously or at a predefined time interval to reduce redundant data. The user will be able to know the entire history at any point in time for the last predefined time interval of the travel. Some of the parameters will be number of starts, stops, maximum speed, RPM, idling time, fuel efficiency, fuel consumption, fuel refilling if any, distance travelled and time stamp of all these parameters. It can also give you a graphical presentation of these parameters, say a speed graph.

The black box will be more than welcome by the insurance companies and probably lent the vehicle “Insurance Friendly”.

For a concerned owner of the vehicle, it will help him to know how the vehicle was treated by the driver or a relative or a family member.

Tyre Pressure Measurements

The tyre pressure is a single largest contributor towards wear and tear of the automobile. If the pressure in the four wheels is uneven, the vehicle tends to drag in one direction there by reducing fuel economy, load on the engine, bearing, tyre wear & tear and so on.

There are complex models suggested but to measure the type pressure we have developed a unique cost effective principle around which we can know the tyre pressure.

Global Positioning System

Many a times, it is important for the vehicle owner to know the geographical coordinates of the vehicle.  This feature can come in handy in case of car theft. The owner may like to know where the vehicle is at the moment. The GSM modem can provide this in conjunction with a GPS gadget. Besides, it can be used for large trucking vehicles of the group too.

The fleet owners or road transport operators are always sceptical about the vehicle. They are not very sure if the driver has been driving the vehicle as per the norms or he over speeds to rest for long time or make up for lost time.

Talking cars / Car Cloud

The cars in each other neighbour hood can talk with each other akin to a blue tooth technology. The communication can be in terms of indication or text which again can be predefined. The protocols can be devised and designed but the parameters that need to be exchanged can be I want to over take, I need help etc.

Managing Traffic

It is felt that the train travel is faster than road travel. The only reason is all the compartments travel in a disciplined fashion, one after the other. No one tries to over take the other BUT all of them are synchronized together. If the same is achieved, we again will have a patenting opportunity. Here basically we are talking of Adaptive Speed Control (Locking a particular speed).

Collision Avoidance

Collision Avoidance as the name suggests is a function of speed, present gear position & RPM, closest obstruction in the front as well as rear OR Approaching vehicle from the front as well as rear. The idea is for the sensors to pre-warn the driver based on dynamic condition of the car.

Train & Road travel

If we are draw a comparison between train and road travel in a metro, it is universally accepted fact that train travel is far more less (time to reach destination) than road travel. One can conclude that the main differentiator is in DISCIPLINED MOVEMENT of all the carriages in a train rather than haphazard and chaotic movement of different vehicles on a road.

The other reason is that the automobile driver takes far too many liberties with traffic rules where as a train driver is more cautious. We are evolving a system of control room for the metros and method of signalling the traffic.

It will be interesting to expand on this concept and create a model.
Increased user Friendliness in present technology implementation

The system will help monitor consumables and educate car owners in their constant endeavour to save travel cost. It will also give timely alarms to replenish coolant, engine oil there by reducing the wear and tear leading to lower maintenance cost.

Digital Dash board

The concept of digital dash board is not new. IT is prevailing in the world for a long time now. But probably has not translated into increased cabin space in terms of volumes. The dash-board becomes a display screen when all the parameters are displayed and updated in a very user friendly manner. Display will be used for the user to get a feel of the status of the car. Display mode could be Ana-Digi a combination of Analogue and Digital display

  • Speed, Distance travelled
  • RPM
  • Digital fuel gauge
  • Fuel economy. Fuel efficiency in last 100 km. / Distance the car can travel with present fuel
  • Gear position & Warning for gear shift
  • Driving skills as a function of speed, gear position & RPM
  • Temperature Cabin, engine and ambient temperature
  • Engine On-Off frequency and idle time
  • Coolant level / Engine oil level / Brake oil
  • Tyre pressure
  • Door closure
  • Lights – linear intensity control / blinkers
  • Wiper – Linear speed control
  • Inter automobile communication – Parameters of the vehicle ahead and rear

These are some of the parameters that the vehicle owners are looking forward to in small affordable vehicles. We are more than sure, this will bring cheer amongst them.

Checking all the electrical lights

At the time of starting the car, the CPU will test all the lamps, bulbs indicators and give a feedback as to which indicator is not working.

Turning indicators

Many a times, the driver takes a steep turn without putting on the side lights OR after taking the turn the driver forgets to turn off the lights. This is too often a cause for an accident. The system can give him alarms and keep him advised accordingly.

Safety

Safety is always top of the mind. And there will be many more parameters than what have been listed here. The system will define a safe threshold for each of these parameters. Once the threshold is defined, the CPU will constantly monitor them and compare against the threshold to raise an alarm.

 
 
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