AIS I40 – More business for the electronics industry?

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The ARAI certification for telematics devices comes under AIS 140 regulation which is in line with boosting Intelligent Transport System (ITS) by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway. The regulation, aimed at mandating intelligent transport systems in commercial vehicles, is set to provide a boost to the electronics component demand in the country.

The purpose of implementing AIS 140
With rapid industrialisation and a surge in trade, it is wise to conclude that the Indian economy runs on the transport system. The dependency of the public ceases to decline on commuting and freightage. The dependency is massive: whether it is the use of public transport, the shipping industry or car rentals/passenger vehicles.

As we have seen in the past years, the number of vehicles running on the road has seen a steadfast growth. Exponential economic development can be attributed as the cause. However, with this monumental increase comes a host of problems.

The primary issue that forays to the top is management of such a large volume of vehicles. The infrastructure of the country, especially in urban areas, is swiftly improving. Yet it is still difficult to manage these many automobiles on the road. As a result, the concerned authorities are experiencing massive traffic and congestion, along with a decline in vehicle safety. To overcome these challenges, and smoothen out the transportation infrastructure, the Government of India came up with the solution: AIS 140 certified devices.

The AIS 140 is a set of regulations published by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) for all public transportation systems to build an Intelligent Transportation System in India. This mandatory move came about when the Government realised the dire need of increasing efficiency in the transport sector of India.
According to AIS 140, it is mandatory for all public transport and commercial vehicles to deploy vehicle tracking systems with camera surveillance and emergency buttons. The transport authorities are tasked with ensuring that all stipulated vehicles abide by the guidelines laid down by the standard.

To ensure that one’s vehicle is in line with the AIS 140 standard, they will need to install a GPS vehicle tracking system, along with an emergency request button. This needs to be done for all your existing as well as future vehicles.

How does the AIS 140 impact?
The regulation has opened a new window of opportunity for domestic manufacturing industry for producing these tracking devices. Such highly specialised equipment means that a new industry is being formed in India: the production of regulated GPS tracking devices.

This regulation comes as a major leap for component manufacturers, component distributors as well as for independent design houses. It is predicted that in the coming days, there will be a massive demand for volume since the AIS 140 is soon going to be mandatory for all commute and transport vehicles across the country.

A number of components will see a spike in demand once the regulation comes into exercise in full form. M. M. Desai, general manager – Automotive Electronics Department, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), is optimistic that modules like GPS Modules, IRNSS modules and GPRS modules for back-end connectivity will see some of the highest demands going forward.

Sanjiv Keskar, managing director of Arrow Electronics, also concurs with the opinion, “This project will bring more demands and opportunity for 2G modules, IRNSS modules, microcontroller, sensors, battery and analog products.”

Dileep Jain, CEO of Rajguru Electronics, a component distributor company from West india also foresees that the standard will help increase business for design house and people who manufacture GPS tracking system. However, he shared his concern stating that components manufacturing in India is still a long way to go but the demand for GPS module and GPS antenna which supports GAGAN will witness an increased demand of about 20 per cent from the current rate.

The highly specialised requirements of the AIS 140-compliant GPS trackers demonstrate the need for a specialised production sector. GPS manufacturers across India are now producing AIS 140-compliant GPS trackers. There is a significant need for this, indicating there could be widespread returns for domestic manufacturing and the Indian economy.

Indian EMS like Syrma Technology Pvt Ltd, manufacturing automotive parts views this implementation as an excellent boost to domestic manufacturing since the organisation is already manufacturing GPS tracker related electronics in the country.

But how prosperous will the opportunity be? Industry players are willing to wait for the regulation to find large-scale adoption and see how things go. Rajiv S Pandit, director of Prismatic, is of the opinion, “While this project may lead to additional requirements for magnetic components that we manufacture, it is too early for us to know the nature and quantum of these requirements.”

Keskar shares similar thoughts, “It all depends on the implementation of this project by various state governments.So, it is difficult to project the growth numbers at the moment.” He, however, shares a tentative estimation by saying that there are over 20 million commercial vehicle units in India at the moment, along with 800,000 to one million new commercial vehicles sold every year – all of which will require to undergo the upgrades as per AIS 140.

Component distributors are hoping that component OEMs start manufacture these tracking systems in India and not in china. “We have seen the recent trend where people are getting ready PCBs from China. Since the chinese people are capable of giving fast delivery and at cheap prices, it is easy for people to get ready PCBs from China and assemble it in India. If that is the case we will not be able to see any increase in business”, opines Jain.

Narendra Saini, product head, Unlimit IoT Private Limited

It’s a breeder for the telematics domain. In a country like India, public transport is used by the majority of the population and there has been several cases across the years where the passengers have suffered a lot due to lack of safety features that should have been there. This is where AIS 140 comes into to fix the gap. The features include safety measures, vehicle driving system and also some of the driving safety parameters along with historical report to see in case any event happens or gets reported. It is also providing a dual connectivity as a part of the AIS 140 protocol so that if one telco is not strong enough, another can take over. Better services to passengers along with better connectivity is what AIS 140 is set to provide.

Unlimit is looking at providing the solutions to the customers with the help of our ecosystem partners since we are dealing with hardware as well as the connectivity part for AIS 140. The market size is pretty big and we look forward to a good amount of growth going forward.

Demand generating areas
Industry veterans are of the opinion that majorly M2M communication modules, passive active components like GPS module which supports IRNSS, GPS antenna, wire harness and battery will witness a high demand. However, there are many specifications for the GPS tracking device, under the AIS -140 of which we have listed a few important ones here. They are:

  • Location tracking through Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System
  • Communicate to designated backend government servers with PVT data
  • Dual IP addresses for PVT data and emergency response
  • Alert ID on pressing emergency button
  • 4 hour internal battery back-up
  • Unique ID or IMEI number
  • Register vehicle to device
  • E-SIM
  • Assisted GPS
  • Multi-slot GPRS
  • 3 axis accelerometer and gyroscope

Also, the functionality of the newly embedded modules and buttons in the vehicles will be thoroughly tested before deployment, as per ARAI. Desai shares a number of test procedures for the new integration, which include:

  • Functionality test – Tracking functionality test, location accuracy test, Acquisition sensitivity test, tracking sensitivity test, SIM test
  • Performance and durability test – Shock test, vibration test, ingress protection (IP), EMI /EMC, battery backup test, performance parametric test, insulation resistance test
  • Device level environmental tests – Dry heat / high temperature test, cold test, damp heat test, temperature shock, high temperature test, salt spray test, high voltage test 0

To meet the rising demands of passenger as well as vehicle safety, these tests are given utmost importance by ARAI which in turn leads to the demand of test and measurement equipment, thus opening up another new business opportunity.

Concern still remains
While this move by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) is being applauded, it has also come under scrutiny. Keskar shares that if all commercial vehicles have to have AIS140 tracker then India has more than 20 million units current install base of commercial vehicles, in addition to the 1 million new commercial vehicles sold every year will require AIS 140 device under the policy.
Experts are worried that while this move is definitely the need of the hour, it may prove to be a redundant exercise if there is no established platforms and architecture to keep a track of the vehicles. Also different states having different governments are not ready to implement this rule. However, if the standard gets implemented unanimously, it will undoubtedly be a great boost for the electronics industry.
Moreover, they fear that the response to emergency requests, either by the passengers or the carriers, may not be tended to properly unless a structure for surveillance is established by the Government and the transport authorities. However, Desai assures that the government has already initiated the back-end development process for the surveillance system.
No where in the final draft of the regulation it is mentioned that the product needs to be Made in India. With volumes rising companies might still find ways to manufacture it with lesser cost in the neighbouring countries. Sharing concern on the similar line, Vinay Naik, sales manager of Bangalore based Unisem Electronics felt that it must have been made mandatory that the product needs to be manufactured only in India to support the Make in India movement.

Alongside this, another major concern remains from the hardware availability side. The main components and modules required in the program are mostly imported currently. Keskar opines, “Such large government projects specification should insist for “Make in India”. We are ready to support our customer for local development and manufacturing on modules and end products.”

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