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Affordable mobility solutions, challenge of future: Seshasayee

Sustainable technology: (From left) Venu Srinivasan, chairman and managing director, TVS Motor; R. Seshasayee, executive vice-chairman, Ashok Leyland; and Asit Barma (standing behind) chairman, SAEINDIA at the 16 {+t} {+h} Asia Pacific Automotive Conference and Expo 2011 in Chennai on Thursday. — Photo: K.V. Srinivasan  

Providing mobility solutions at different levels to different persons at different price points would be the major challenge that the auto industry would face in the coming years, said R. Seshasayee, patron, APAC16 Steering Committee, on Thursday.

Delivering the presidential address at the three-day 16 {+t} {+h} Asia Pacific Automotive Conference and Expo 2011 (APAC16) on ‘Sustainable technology for smart and safe mobility,' organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers India (SAEINDIA), he said the growing aspirations of the consumers in developing economies to own vehicles even at lower per capita income levels would add to the challenges faced by the auto industry in developing new products at challenging price points.

Gamut of technologies

“These mobility solutions are important for the growth of economy that would be witnessed in the developing economies for coming decades. With relentless rate of urbanisation the demand for mobility solution will go up not only in India, but also in other places. We have to combine the communication technology with electrical, electronics and mechanical to create a whole gamut of technologies. We also have to create awareness about the challenges, opportunities and solutions,” he said.

Mentioning that the auto industry was often the whipping boys when it came to emission and pollution, he said this notion would continue in the future too and there was a need to push for effective alternative fuels.

Venu Srinivasan, chairman and managing director of TVS Motor, said it was imperative for the automobile industry to push for urban planning for sustainable growth of the industry and the biggest challenge going forward would be to meet pollution norms. It was estimated that pollution in India would grow by three times by 2030 from what it was during 2005. “We have to look at urban planning to design our cities to achieve better efficiency, to bring down pollution and to lower the cost. For this, we need to take leadership position and have to join forces with Non-Government Organisations working for urban planning or we cannot improve our business. It needs a great political will and calls for a social revolution,” he said.

Mr. Srinivasan called for promoting integrated multi-model transportation system with proper planning and suggested earmarking proper parking system or dedicated bus lanes in the new system.

Managing traffic was the other significant issue, Mr. Srinivasan said, “This will pose a major challenge to the country. We have to think of smart, safe and connected vehicles that are far lighter and more fuel efficient. We also have to take into consideration the pedestrian's safety while designing public policy,” he said.

R. Dayal, president SAEINDIA, said by 2020 India would occupy fifth place in the world in vehicle population from its present seventh position.