+ Start-ups Transforming the Automotive Industry in India - CII Blog

The Indian automotive industry is at the cusp of a significant transformation with respect to its sustainable growth and profitability. As per the Automotive Mission Plan 2016-2026 (AMP 2026), the aim is to make the Indian automotive industry the largest job-creating engine in the Indian economy and significantly increase the industry’s contribution to the GDP. If projections are met, by 2026 India is expected to be the third-largest automotive market in the world.

The Indian Government permits 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the automobile sector. Favourable policies such as Make in India, automotive mission plans, National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (NEMMP), and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) are beneficial for the sector.

Digital technologies are ushering in unprecedented changes in the sector. Changing consumer preferences, impact of technological advancements, electric vehicles (EV), and intelligent mobility are shaping the future of India’s mobility.

Industry 4.0 is gaining momentum as there is an improved focus on the acceleration of production services and use of smart technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), and Cloud Computing for providing consumers a connected mobility experience. It offers an opportunity for developing altogether newer business models apart from improving existing processes through the effective usage of digital technologies.

Broadly speaking, the automotive industry is witnessing major changes at three levels:

Business models: e-hailing, ride-sharing, vehicle sharing, bus aggregators;

Vehicles: driverless, remote fault detection and diagnosis, real-time vehicle tracking;  Supply chain: robotics, augmented reality.

Innovation and changes are inevitable and in the Indian context, the most pronounced changes and new models are happening across the following in the automotive landscape:

  • Vehicle tracking/navigation
  • Connected cars
  • Electric vehicles
  • Aggregators/rentals
  • Logistics solutions/services
  • Vehicle/driving analytics

While some of this innovation is coming from the leading car manufacturers, it is the start-ups that are capitalising on the new-age technologies and leading from the front.

Ola, a major ride-hailing company in India, has raised $1.1 billion to strengthen its AI and ML capabilities. Bengaluru-based Intuition Systems is using AI and deep-tech to develop urban commuter automobiles that will be intelligent, semi-autonomous, electric and hybrid, cost-effective and exclusively designed to serve crowded Indian roads.

Bhopal based Swaayatt Robots is working on the development of on-road and off-road self-driving technology designed which can be used in unstructured environmental conditions. The environment will be monitored using off-the-shelf cameras.

With the Government’s push to promote electric vehicles in the country, innovation is coming from the leading automobile manufacturers, as well as India’s EV start-ups. The EV start-up ecosystem comprises of a mix of start-ups that manufacture two-wheelers, as well as those working on battery tech, vehicle diagnostics, and other aspects related to electric vehicles.

Many of these new EV start-ups like Ather Energy, Tork Motorcycles, etc. are not only gaining traction but have also managed to secure a significant amount of funding (either institutional round or angel round). EV start-ups are also garnering attention from leading automobile manufacturers and investment in such start-ups drives cross-pollination between the manufacturer and start-ups.

Disruptions, new product development, and globalisation are changing the landscape of the Indian automotive industry and start-ups have a key role to play in the development of the industry, both for the nation and for better mobility. Exciting new products and innovations will be showcased at The Auto Expo – Components Show where start-ups actively participate.