Software shapes automotive hardware: Rashmi Urdhwareshe, President, SAE India

From October 12 to 14, 2022, SAE India organized the 10th edition of SIIMC (SAE India International Mobility Conference). Short for Society of Automotive Engineers India, it is a 25-year-old organization whose members include experts in the mobility ecosystem. SAE India is not a professional association, i.e. it does not influence government decisions, but technologically, it offers recommendations to government and policy makers. At SIIMC 2022, Rashmi Urdhwareshe, President of SAE India, said Vikram Chaudhary (FE) how SAE India has contributed to the mobility ecosystem. Excerpts:

The 10th edition of the SIIMC has been delayed due to the pandemic, during which the mobility ecosystem has seen a massive technological transformation…

Yes, there have been three definitive changes to the mobility ecosystem.

First, mobility is going electric worldwide; even though the percentage share of electric vehicle (EV) sales in total vehicle sales is very low, interest in EVs is at an all-time high.

Second, central and state government policies on electrification have largely supported the ecosystem. India is one of the few countries to have an EV policy (FAME I in 2015, and now FAME II).

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The third major change concerns technology, where SAE India plays a major role. Today, the boundary between mechanical or automotive engineering and other branches of engineering is thin. Previous editions of the SIIMC were dedicated to building vehicles by mechanical or automotive engineers, but now you can’t design a car without the help of technology experts. Software plays a major role in the automotive ecosystem; a modern car has millions of lines of code.

Also, some of the most famous car and two-wheeler companies are not traditional companies. The world’s largest automaker by market capitalization is a start-up. The largest electric scooter factory in the world is run by an aggregator.

Some studies have revealed that a large percentage of engineering graduates produced by India are not job ready. How can organizations like SAE India help?

For the past 25 years, we’ve hosted marquee events such as BAJA, SUPRA and AWIM, which allow engineering students to design, develop and race prototype vehicles in challenging terrain. Just before Covid-19, we had over 486 collegiate clubs. These events prepare students for industry and make them more employable.

What is SAE India’s position within the SAE International ecosystem?

SAE India is SAE International’s greatest strategic ally.

In what ways does SAE India contribute to the industry?

We are very proud of our volunteers or subject matter experts; we have approximately 310 subject matter experts. The beauty is that they are not from a single company but from competing organizations. At events like the SIIMC and others, they present a data warehouse that contributes directly and indirectly to the creation of knowledge within the industry. For example, the SIIMC 2022 saw participants submit over 180 papers and 543 abstracts on technical innovations, focusing on promoting sustainable and multimodal mobility in India and globally.

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