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Q&A with Chandan Sawhney, FISITA Corporate Member Leader, India

Updated: Jun 4, 2021

Electrification and connectivity are the key mobility trends in India, says the Head of Advanced Engineering at Tata Motors

Chandan Sawhney, Head of Advanced Engineering at Tata Motors
Chandan Sawhney, Tata Motors

Chandan Sawhney has over 25 years’ experience in the automotive industry. During his diverse career, he has worked in product lifecycle management, business development, and product development in areas such as infotainment, body electronics, ADAS, electric vehicles, and telematics.

Head of Advanced Engineering at Tata Motors since July 2020, Chandan joined the company in 2015, after a decade at Delphi Automotive.

Speaking here in his role as FISITA Corporate Member Leader – India, Chandan discusses the key mobility trends in India, their impact on automotive engineering, and how FISITA membership can help automotive and mobility engineers developing solutions for these trends.

What is your role at FISITA?

As Corporate Member Leader, India, my role is to encourage active participation of the relevant industry peers. I look to influence and create a relevant agenda and work streams with like-minded leaders, engage with technologists and companies from other technology clusters in India, and liaise with fellow FISITA corporate members. This will help further the development of safe, sustainable, and affordable mobility solutions, and enable professional development of engineers.

What are the key mobility trends in India?

Electrification and connectivity are the key mobility trends in India. The focus for electrification is on solutions for commercial vehicles and passenger cars. With better penetration of charging infrastructure and customer awareness, customer adoption of electric vehicles is likely to see strong growth.

Connectivity is a key trend today in India, with products and services being developed mainly for comfort and convenience features in passenger and fleet vehicles, as well as to provide cost of ownership solutions for commercial vehicle operators.

Features for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are still in the very early stages of development in India, but ADAS is a critical long-term focus area for Indian automotive industry stakeholders.

What are the challenges that these trends present?

The challenges relate mainly to infrastructure and cost of ownership. The cost of adoption for electric vehicles is still significantly higher than for traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, and another issue is the low penetration of charging infrastructure.

When it comes to connectivity, the challenges are mainly the lack of seamless network availability, and the high data charges for wireless communication.

And what opportunities do these trends offer?

The opportunities are huge, with the shift towards green mobility, zero emission vehicles improving the overall carbon footprint, and the development of an eco-system to support local industry.

Connectivity allows many additional features for remote data management, improving the overall customer experience and the digitalisation of traditional user interfaces, and the user experience adds to customer comfort and convenience.

What does all this mean for engineers developing the technology of mobility?

This is a fantastic opportunity for engineers to work on new technologies in the area of power electronics, new battery chemistries for electric vehicles, and new connectivity technologies such as 5G and V2X. This would help develop new customer solutions for India, new collaboration opportunities for engineers, and help new start-ups to further push opportunities for innovation.

How can FISITA membership help engineers develop these solutions?

FISITA provides learning platforms for engineers, organises events to promote innovation and help foster unique solutions, and publishes technical papers. Most importantly, FISITA establishes collaboration opportunities among different stakeholders to bring them together on a common platform.

What would you say to anyone considering FISITA membership?

FISITA is a great platform for fostering cross-industry collaboration opportunities. FISITA membership would be a real benefit to automotive and mobility engineers in India, and the FISITA mission and vision values would benefit from the active contribution of Indian engineers. Anyone interested in FISITA membership can contact me or my FISITA colleague, Kelly Williams to find out more.

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