The focus of SIAT 2011 held at ARAI, Pune, was on sustainability and market expansion, reports Huned ContractorWith the automobile market in the world, and particularly in India, all set for an upward spiral, the ones to benefit the most will be the buyers who will now get an increasing number of facilities and features in two-wheelers, passenger cars, and commercial vehicles with auto makers vying with each other to provide the best at the most competitive prices. This surfaced as a clear message during the Symposium on International Automotive Technology (SIAT 2011) held on the sprawling campus of the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) in Pune from January 19 to 22. Most of the participants at the show also agreed about the fact that the volumes in the Indian market have created a reason for global technology players to set up shop in India and offer solutions that were hitherto restricted only in the overseas markets.According to Michael Muhlogger, Business Unit Manager, AVL List GmbH, an Austrian instrumentation and test systems manufacturer, "The maturity of emerging markets in terms of technology as well as regulatory direction has impacted the way cars are being made in these markets. While this is so, the volumes are now good enough to use high-end technology in mass produced cars also." Muhlogger drew attention towards the rule that states that cars, which do not meet Bharat Stage IV emission norms cannot be registered in 16 cities. The rule makes it compulsory for manufacturers to build technology features in their cars to meet such rules in these markets. The Indian automobiles market has registered a growth of 28 per cent year-on-year during 2011 and there are indications that the growth will continue. A recent research paper by Standard Chartered Equity Research has estimated a growth of 24 per cent in volume and 43 per cent in terms of profit. The promise held out by the Indian auto sector has led AVL to set up operations in India. The company has a compact range of products that are used in basic measurements, calibration work, and data handling on the test bed. "This is the first time AVL is launching a product outside of Austria and that too in an emerging market," said Shashi Singh, Managing Director, AVL India. The symposium also had technologists and researchers associated with the auto sector and allied industries, besides academia from across the globe, discuss the topic 'Sustainable Mobility - A Creative Challenge'. According to Shrikant Marathe, Director, ARAI, about 150 keynote and technical papers were presented on subjects like alternate fuels, alternate power plants, automotive testing and evaluation techniques, CAE, durability, emissions, engines, harmonisation of standards, materials, NVH, safety, and vehicle dynamics. Also in focus were the three high-power engines for the commercial vehicles segment developed by the ARAI which evoked interest from several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from India and abroad. "The organisation has developed the engines using in-house design and engineering capabilities. They are now industry-ready and some of the OEMs have shown interest in acquiring the design and technology from us," Marathe said, adding that a six-cylinder engine that runs on a combination of hydrogen and compressed natural gas (CNG) has also been developed by the ARAI team. The engine can meet emission targets set by Euro 5 norms and can be relevant for OEMs in heavy or light commercial vehicles, sports utility vehicles, and three-wheelers. One of the engines will use homo- genised combustion compression ignition technology, is ready and will meet the Euro 4 emission norms. This engine is suitable for generator sets and heavy and light duty engines, offering diesel efficiency with CNG. "The third is a smaller, 3-cylinder CRDI engine that meets Euro 4 and Euro 5 norms and is suitable for small passenger cars. The engine is used for manufacturing much heavier engines but ARAI engineers have adapted it for smaller capacity engines," said A V Mannikar, Deputy Director, ARAI. He said the engine is prototype-ready and will soon undergo further developments. Marathe said that the ARAI has successfully completed its 'Size India' project to meet the automotive industry's long-standing demand for large and robust anthropometric database representing civilian population to be used in automotive design. The database now has over 5,000 scanned samples which can offer information on over 250 points and has been very popular with design houses and automotive manufacturers.