Application engineering

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Q & A

Dr. Venkat Srinivas,

Vice President & Head, Engineering & Product Development, Mahindra Trucks and Buses Ltd.

Interview by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

Q. What challenges are you looking at with BSVI round the corner?

A. There will be huge challenges, and huge opportunities too. It was the same in the instance of BSIV. We got an opportunity to differentiate ourselves. For instance, we have been offering common-rail technology on our products as a Group for over 10 years. The experience and synergies we have had as a Group have helped us. The synergies in the area of powertrain have helped us to get a good start. We have been offering BSIII LCVs with common-rail engine technology. We have a lot of application knowledge, not just at Mahindra Research Valley (MRV) but also at Pune. It was developed at a BSIII emission norms came into force. We had some pre-Blazo vehicles – HGVs, in the market. These were 40-tonne tractors. When we launched the BSIII Blazo a year and a half back, we built upon that experience. We added fuel-smart technology to turn the whole equation into a highly successful experience. It gave us the confidence to offer the mileage guarantee. No truck has come back in that regards. The move to BSIV made common-rail technology a necessity. A debate on EGR and SCR played out at the earlier stages. It was important to finalise the architecture. EGR is a good option for smaller vehicles because of the power to weight ratio. A five-tonne LCV typically operates with 70 hp engine in the Indian context. It signals a power to weight ratio of 14 hp per tonne. While the loading in smaller vehicles is often partial, it is exactly the opposite in bigger and heavier vehicles. The power to weight ratio of a 49-tonne truck in an Indian context is between 4 and 4.5 hp per tonne. The engine is operating at full load most of the time. If EGR technology is applied, it brings compromises. A 100 per cent fuel air mixture is not provided to the engine. Exhaust gas recirculation is 15 to 18 per cent. The engine is not burning as much fuel in a duty cycle. The result is less output. Thermal efficiency goes down. Carbon deposits rise. Engine life also goes down. We chose the newer generation airless SCR. This technology will help us to migrate to BSVI.

Q. What advantages does airless SCR offer?

A. Airless SCR uses less power over an air-assisted system. Performance of airless SCR is better. There are fewer parts and less complexity therefore. Reliability is high, and the cost of service is low. We dealt with our supplier base to ensure that the airless SCR system is price competitive. We had to make the business case work internally for us. The choice of airless SCR makes sense for as far as our customers are concerned. Airless SCR is easier and less costlier to service. Our move to BSVI will not entail an engine change. Many engines between five- and six-litre capacity will be extremely underpowered as BSVI units.

Q. What about the costs incurred to graduate to BSVI technology?

A. The costs will go up, and the reason why we are carrying out technology assessment. From that point of view, we are carrying forward our engines except for one engine in our LCV range. We will carry forward our choice of technology. Our BSVI compliant HCV range will be supported by our 7.2-litre engine. We will go with SCR, and with different calibrations. There will be the addition of DPF. There will be cost addition. The cost delta for different manufacturers will be different. We would be leveraging the investments we have made.

Q. Does it hint at an opportunity to develop more powerful engines to tap new, heavier CV segments?

A. Depending upon the growth of such segments we could definitely look at that. We have to also consider that we are not that large an organisation at the back end either. We have ambitious plans. We do have some platforms to consider. We have to pick our battles in the context of priority. There are gaps in our portfolio that we need to fill up. ICVs and some more play in buses.

Q. What new technology would you offer in buses?

A. Our bus play has been quite successful in the school segment. We have had a limited success in the staff bus segment. We are working towards improving the product portfolio in the staff bus segment. In the current portfolio of up to 40 seats, we have developed a wider body bus. It measures 2.5 m in width over 2.2 m of a conventional bus body. The wider body bus will help us in staff transportation. It will also enable us to offer other bus body, chassis and powertrain level changes. To suit the requirements better, there will be wider seats, and better elbow room on offer. There will be chassis level improvements to achieve superior NVH and comfort. Air suspension is on offer as an option too. Migration to a new platform is part of the strategy. There will be a migration to ICV type of buses. We will also offer new powertrain for ICVs – for trucks and buses. In the case of alternate fuel technology, we are already offering CNG. LNG has been in the news. Distribution is still a challenge. LNG storage and delivery in vehicle is expensive. We are working to crack that problem. LNG services are being piloted at Kochi, and availability to LNG is likely to get better along the west coast. LNG engine technology is not a challenge. Challenge concerns its distribution. As far as the engine is concerned, there’s not much change between a CNG and LNG calibration. LNG calls for the packaging of one large tank. Since it is in a compressed form, it should give a good range. Some weight reduction is possible on an LNG vehicle when compared to a CNG vehicle. LNG tanks are expensive. We will therefore continue to watch this space closely. If we feel that the adoption point is close, to will serve the market.

Q. What about electric CVs?

A. An electric bus has already been announced as part of the electric vehicle portfolio. We are working on that project. It is the T32, T40 and T42 range. From a technology stand point we are well prepared. We have the group company, Mahindra Electric, which has done such projects. We are working with them on the bus project as well. While the project proceeds there are some enablers, which need to happen. One is the cost of the electric power pack. There is interest for local manufacture, which should reduce the costs. The other is the range. A conventional, or even a battery powered bus would call for a range of 200 to 250 kms. An electric bus should also need range like that for a city operation. The range for electric vehicles is still talked to be between 100 and 120 km. Challenges in the area of battery cost and time to fully charge remain. An interesting development in this area is that ministries have come together, and under the purview of union minister Piyush Goyal, are looking at battery swapping for buses. The bus has to travel 50 km before the battery is swapped. The battery thus has to be brand agnostic. The batteries could be charged offline, and away from the bus. The time required is assured. The float can be decided on the number of batteries, and depending on the number of buses as well as the kind of routes to be run on. If the 150 km requirement comes down to 50 km with battery swapping, the cost of batteries will come down to one-third of what it is today. Some level of incentive will be needed, but viability will go up many folds.

Q. Are you looking at something that will be path breaking?

A. Every aspect of the power pack has been scrutinized. If anything new that can be offered, which others have not yet offered. It is subject to a study of what can be done differently. Despite the group experience in electric passenger vehicles, we are approaching electric (commercial) vehicle architecture ground up. We are looking at what the market requirements are for a bus. What learnings of Mahindra Electric can we take so that our learning curve is faster. We are looking at better energy management, better drives, and better storage. We are keen to look at these and the other aspects for an electric bus rather than take a system and upscale it.

Q. The kind of intelligence you would want to build into?

A. We have learnt what we need for the market. Consider the IPR bit, and it is quite complex. Mahindra Electric brings in a good deal of it. The ‘fuelsmart’ technology on trucks helped us to understand how customers use their CVs – HGVs in particular, in various road loads and applications. We have acquired a large database regarding that. This helped us to extend ‘fuelsmart’ technology on the diesel load LCVs that we introduced on the Jayo and Optimo platform. A lot of usage assessment and profiling that we did has given us a detailed understanding of how our products are used. Combine that with Mahindra Electric’s ability to optimise energy management for electric vehicles, and we are looking at a big advantage. The resulting vehicle is certain to be state of the art in terms of energy consumption. There are many out there who can integrate an electric power pack. To arrive at an optimal combination is a different ball-game altogether. The control systems and the development of IPR for efficient management of energy are of prime importance. Mahindra Electric has done a lot of work in this area, and is bringing to the table a lot of learnings. We are bringing a market perspective to the project. It could translate into engineering duty cycle.

Q. How close or how far are we in terms of connected CVs, or autonomous CVs?

A. We have come to look at autonomous vehicles in the form of classical western definitions. It leads to how we are going to look at technologies like adaptive cruise control. This technology is already found on some cars in India. So, it can happen. Technologies like blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and AEBS need to be looked at. For example, how will blind spot monitoring work in Pune’s traffic? There will always be someone in the blind spot. Rather than take a literal translation of western definitions and the feature content that is being defined in this domain, the need is to upscale our understanding, which is small when compared to the western markets. Our curiosity in this area is very high. We are very keen to understand what and how technologies can be relevant. We can build intelligence on the top of the ‘fuelsmart’ technology that we have developed. There is no need to look at driverless vehicle as the holy grail. They may happen 10 or 20 years down the line. There is a need to pick up relevant technology and add intelligence to it. For example, drowsiness alert systems. These, I feel, will be quite relevant in the Indian market. Drunk driving enforcement is not high, and makes a technology like drowsiness alert extremely relevant. There is also a need to find out what is relevant for what application. Off-road segments are perhaps a bit more conducive to automation. On-road there is still an amount of heterogeneity in terms of traffic. In a controlled environment like a mine, an autonomous vehicle can do more. We at Mahindra Trucks and Buses will continue to make our CVs smarter. We will not wait for the regulations to call for it. We will look at other triggers to find out what we can add. A lot of electronics in the form of an ABS system, the engine ECU, the digital instrument cluster, etc., are already there. The need is to leverage them, and to create something better. Every year we will make our trucks and buses smarter. It will take us towards autonomous CVs.

Q. What will the future CVs look like?

A. The driver will become an important part of the ecosystem. We are putting a lot of thought into how we can make the ecosystem better for the driver. It is the driver who spends the most of his time with the CV. We are paying attention to how we can get more productivity from the driver by making it more comfortable for him. The instrument cluster has become a lot more versatile in BSIV guise, and would provide a lot of information. It is about using connected technologies like Wi Fi, Bluetooth and our DigiSense platform. DigiSense is a standard fitment in the Blazo BSIV. We will continue to offer it in our other platforms as well. A lot of information obtained as data is made available to the driver. It is also made available to the fleet owner. This ensures better transparency and management of the data. It could be used for service indicators, diagnostics, and for trouble shooting. This, as connected vehicle technology, will empower the driver and the fleet owner in ways that we have not seen or imagined. We are trying to unlock the potential, a result of which productivity will improve. We want our customers to make more money. There are companies like Tesla that are approaching a problem from a very different angle. We need to learn about them. Some of them are sitting with hordes of cash that they can spend on various experimental ventures. The industry as a whole, I think, is learning from it. The speed of innovation of such companies is something that we can adopt. We may not spend a trillion Dollars or experiment as much, we will however experiment in smaller ways and learn from the experiments of others. We have to be a fast mover and identify the application specific requirements. For example, to experiment with Lidar technology to deliver a certain application. It will have to be done quickly. The basic technology and resolution can be developed by someone else. We will have to move fast in deploying it.

Q. What synergies could we look at as you strive to make smarter trucks and buses?

A. We have a lot of synergies playing out in the Group. The challenge is how do we leverage these synergies. As a Group we are getting better. We are looking at synergies that are beneficial to both. We are working with many Group companies. Our powertrain development comes from MRV. They have engineers at Pune too. A lot of work thus goes on in the area of engine, clutch, transmission, aftertreatment, etc. A lot of work is going on in the area of CNG and other alternate fuel modes. We carry out application at Pune. MRV for example developed DigiSense in association with Bosch and TechMahindra. We have discussed with TechMahindra. They are going to do technology days for us. Their speed of development is such that we have to understand it to leverage it. We are going to have technology days on our premises where they will tell us about relevant technology. This will help us to quickly identify the levels at which we can associate. Synergies are on going, and we could do with more of them.

“We dealt with our supplier base to ensure that the airless SCR system is price competitive.”

Trendline

The ‘fuelsmart’ technology on trucks helped us to understand how customers use their CVs – HGVs in particular, in various road loads and applications.

Trendline

We are very keen to understand what and how technologies can be relevant.

Tata Motors unveils the Ultra light trucks at Futuroad Expo 2017

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Tata Motors, unveiled the Ultra range of light trucks at Futuroad Expo, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Three new models from Ultra range were showcased including Ultra 814 (4.5-tonne), Ultra 1014 (5.5-tonne), and Ultra 1418 (7.5-tonne). Said to be designed and tested for South African conditions, its key benefits include ultra versatility with multiple wheelbase and payload options. It is powered by a 140 PS common rail engine mated to a new generation six-speed over drive transmission. Additionally, the Ultra boasts of extra space, ergonomic seating, best-in-class NVH levels and standard HVAC in a bid to ensure higher driver productivity. That apart the Ultra also features class leading features such as industry widest cabin, claimed to be a versatile platform for wider and longer bodies. The Ultra is made available in three wheelbase options & payloads ranging from three to eight-tonne. According to Rudrarup Maitra, Vice President, Commercial Vehicles, International Business, Tata Motors said, “The Tata Ultra range is a result of extensive feedback from customers in the South African market and we are proud to introduce this pioneering range of trucks here in South Africa.” “The Tata Ultra 814 is the first variant to be launched in South Africa and we are looking forward to launching the Ultra 1014 and the AMT versions of both models in the New Year,”he added. The Ultra range will be assembled locally at the Tata Motors South Africa (TMSA) plant situated at Rosslyn, Pretoria. Alongside Tata Ultra, Tata Motors additionally showcased the Prima 3338.K 8×4 Tipper, Super Ace Mint, the Xenon X2 Automatic and the Prima T1 Racing Truck.

Prawaas 2017: A show of the operators

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Over 3000 bus and cab operators came together to make the inaugural edition of Prawaas expo a success.

Story by: Ashish Bhatia

Over 3000 bus and cab operators found their way to Vashi, Navi Mumbai, on July 28, 2017. They came to participate in the inaugural edition of a bus and cab exhibition – Prawaas 2017, organised by their apex body, the Bus Operators Confederation of India (BOCI). Held at the CIDCO Exhibition Centre in Vashi, the fair, organised by BOCI in association with MM Activ Sci-Tech Communications, attracted over 120 participants, including bus and car OEMs, and many delegations. To be held at different locations starting next year, the inaugural edition, under the theme ‘safe, smart and sustainable transport’, presented an effective platform to private bus and cab operators – big and small. Visited by 10 international delegates, 80 industry experts, and 100,000 trade visitors, the fair saw participants showcase their products, technologies, aggregates, and more to forward their business interests. Proving to be the right platform for service providers, and those that indulge in training and skill development, the fair reflected upon the change that is taking place in the Indian bus and the cab industry. Expressed Akash Passey, Senior Vice President, Business Region International, Volvo Bus Corporation, that the event marks a turning point. “For someone who has been associated with the bus industry for the last 25 years, it is good to see operators working in the same direction and towards the improvement of the industry,” he mentioned.

Pointing at an ability to work together, and to provide high service standards, the fair provided the stakeholders of the bus and cab industry an opportunity to explore new avenues of growth, and possibilities. The coming together of private and public operators to achieve a common goal for example. Facilitating interaction among vehicle manufacturers, fleet operators, policy makers, NGOs, and innovators, Prawaas 2017 reflected upon global trends and best practices. Through the seminars that were held on the sidelines of the show, experts in the industry provided an insight into how the industry is changing, and how it is addressing the various challenges it is facing. Highlighting how operators are putting customers ahead of everything else, the fair, held over three days, saw participants voice their concerns and achievements. Expressed Prasanna Patwardhan, President of BOCI council, and CMD of Prasanna Purple, “The idea (of the fair) first germinated in 2001 owing to a service tax levy followed by a period of lull due to an abatement that followed in 2004. The recurring hike of the levy in 2014 led to us contemplating a national level representation.” The objective is to promote health, happiness and economic prosperity of the society through safe, smart and sustainable transport, he averred.

Change of perception

Drawing attention to the changing perception of public transportation in other parts of the world, Patwardhan called upon the government, operators, NGOs, and others, to come together to achieve a common goal. He opined that transportation is given priority as per the needs globally, and not as per the size of the vehicle, which is a case in India. It is because of this, that buses are prohibited from plying on some congested routes, he said. Echoing the sentiments of bus and cab operators in the country, Patwardhan spoke about the issues faced by them. In his inaugural speech, he urged union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, the chief guest, to look at three specific issues (one nation, one permit tax; elevation of maximum allowed speed from 80 to 120 kmph, and all-India permit to sleeper coach) faced by them.

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In his speech, T. Venkatraman, Senior Vice President, Global Buses, Ashok Leyland, averred that a solidarity of purpose was needed. “There is a sense of urgency today to transform the country to what it is truly capable of, and we are willing to offer all the support possible,” he said. Pledging support as an Original Equipment Manufacturer to BOCI, Girish Wagh, Head – Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors, expressed that the passenger transportation industry has specific set of needs. “BOCI as a forum will fulfil them,” he mentioned. Providing an important perspective in his speech, Passey expressed that India is the world’s second largest bus market by volume after China. He opined that an important milestone of building a bus ground up has been achieved by India. Touching upon key developments like a rising movement to rear-engine buses, air-conditioned buses, and towards a PPP model, Passey explained, “There is a need to benchmark with global standards. There is a need for a definitive synergy between the government, the association of State Transport Undertakings (STUs), and bus operators to achieve a common goal of improving public transportation.”

In his inaugural speech, the minister of tourism for Maharashtra state, Jayapura Rawal, said that buses are playing a crucial role in promoting tourism. Pointing at the Greyhound Lines, Inc., which serves more than 3800 destinations across North America with a modern and environment friendly bus fleet, he mentioned that the state will soon open 10 integrated tourism hot spots with all the amenities. Assuring reform in transport and the associated infrastructure, Gadkari, in his speech, said that the government is taking a host of initiatives in road engineering. Citing road safety as the top most priority, the minister averred that an expenditure of Rs.11000 crore was incurred on improving the national highways. Urging bus operators to deploy quality drivers on the job, Gadkari informed that 2000 driver training centers would be launched across the country in the near future. With stress on increasing the length of national highways from 96,000 km to 1,75,000 km, the union transport minister stated that the total length of highways has gone up from 5,000 km to 22,500 km in Maharashtra.

Quality roads

Assuring that his government will provide roads of international quality, Gadkari touched upon the use of cement. Roads of international quality will elevate operator efficiency, he said. Calling upon OEMs to build high quality buses, Gadkari said that the ministry will hold the respective OEM accountable for any lapse in quality. Telling them to refrain from offering substandard products, the union transport minister revealed that he has finalised the amendments to the bus and sleeper coach code. Stressing upon quality not once but many times, Gadkari called upon for the use of alternate fuels to provide a high quality experience to commuters at lower costs. Stating that it was possible to reduce the cost of bus fares by approximately 25 per cent with the us of alternate fuel, Gadkari reasoned a need to reduce the import bill of Rupees seven-lakh crore the nation incurs to import crude oil. Touching upon the use of bio-diesel and ethanol among other alternate fuels, the minister explain that 15 home grown companies will provide second generation ethanol. He Mentioned that the price of lithium-ion battery packs has dropped by 30 per cent. Stressing upon the need to go fully-electric, Gadkari stated, “You (OEMs) have to offer import substitute; cost effective and indigenous products in line with the make in India vision.” Keen to see the number of buses increase to 40,00,000 from the current 17,00,000, the minister explained that his government would encourage the use of public transport.

Awards

Recognising industry leaders, BOCI felicitated excellence through the ‘Prawaas Excellence Awards’. Contributions in the area of best practices, services and innovations were the hallmarks of the awards curated by EY (erstwhile Ernst & Young).

Conferences

Conference at Prawaas 2017 delved upon a diverse range of topics including passenger footfall increase, creation of uniform regulatory framework for ease of doing business, capacity building through skill development, and tapping emerging opportunities in multi-modal integrated transport solutions among others.

Mahindra & Mahindra

Mahindra Trucks and Buses (MTB) displayed a wide (2350 mm) body Comfio bus for staff transportation with a seating capacity for 40 people. Providing more shoulder room and gangway space due to greater width, the Comfio, available in two different wheelbases (4200 mm and 5260 mm), marks the company’s renewed thrust in the bus space. With a range of new buses expected from the manufacturer, including some on the new ICV platform that it is developing, and will be unveiled next year, stress is also being laid on alternate fuel te chnologies. IMG_6670 copy

Volvo Buses

Volvo Buses displayed the Hybrid city bus and the BSIV emission compliant 9400 multi-axle coach. Both the buses are premium offerings, and showcase technology in the form of superior comfort and safety for the commuters. The buses feature ABS, Electronic Braking System (EBS), disc brakes and hill-start among others.

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Scania India

Scania India displayed a 12 m Euro6 city bus. It is powered by a five-cylinder, nine-litre diesel engine that developes 280 hp at 1900 rpm and a peak torque of 1350 Nm at 1400 rpm. The 32-seat low-floor bus is equipped with a six-speed ZF ecolife transmission with an integrated retarder. Suspension is pneumatic all-round. Other features include an electronic braking system, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and a reverse camera.

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ICICI Bank

Putting up an attractive display, ICICI Bank highlighted its CV funding schemes, which promise quicker processing, flexible repayment and up to 100 per cent funding on the chassis.

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Ashok Leyland

Ashok Leyland displayed a 36-seat 130 hp BSIV Lynx Smart and 160 hp Viking staff bus. The company also displayed a 225 hp Freedom front-engine inter-city ‘comfort’ coach. The Freedom can seat up to 41 people depending upon the configuration an operator chooses.

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Force Motors

Force Motors displayed Traveller passenger vehicle variants including the one that was customised by Pinnacle Modify. The company also displayed the BSIV Trax range of utility vehicles.

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Tata Motors

Tata Motors showcased a wide range of its smart city commercial vehicle offerings. These included the Ultra electric bus, the Magic and the Magic Iris electric passenger vehicles.

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VE Commercial Vehicles

VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) displayed the Skyline Pro midi-bus (AC). The company also displayed a 16-tonne staff bus with an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT).

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MG Group

Announcing that it will build sleeper coach for Scania on its 14.8 m multi-axle bus chassis, the MG Group displayed its tarmac coach ‘Columbus’, highlighting an OEM play. The MG Group also displayed a ‘Shivshahi’ inter-city 12 m front-engine mid-premium bus built for MSRTC. Based on a 180 hp Tata LPO bus chassis, the ‘Shivshahi’ bus order amounts to 250 units. As per the agreement, MG Group will transfer the design of the bus to MSRTC. Confident of the Mammoth premium front-engine bus project in association with MAN achieving greater success, MG Group is banking on tarmac coach to invade a special application market not only in India, but also the world over. The Columbus complies with international tarmac coach manual, and is a modular design.

Veera

Bangalore-based Veera Vahana Udyog Pvt. Ltd., displayed the Veera Samrat 12 m high-deck sleeper coach. Indicating an OEM play with key components like engine, transmission and axles sourced from the respective suppliers the Samrat, also called as C7, marks an important milestone in the history of the company. Having 30 berths, the bus weighs 16.2-tonne. A front-engine design powered by a 230 hp Cummins BS5.9 series engine and a six-speed manual transmission, the sleeper coach complies with the sleeper coach code. It features Wavellar spring type suspension at the front. Rear suspension is pneumatic. Creature comfort is dialed by JTAC (Astro-540) AC, stylish and comfortable sleeping berths, CCTV, infotainment systems, navigation guiding lights, charging points, reading-lamps and an emergency exit door at the rear. Veera Vahana also displayed a school bus in ‘left hand drive’ guise for the Middle East markets.

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Wabco India

The highlight of Wabco India was its AMT technology. The company displayed a Tata Marcopolo staff bus bus with AMT. Finding use on buses dveleoped by a host of manufacturers in India, including Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland the AMT setup includes an ECU that communicates with the engine ECU. An hydraulic shift unit, mechatronic in nature executes shifts. Elevating safety by reducing driver fatigue and elevating fuel efficiency by selecting optimal gear ratios, AMT is cost effective when compared to an automatic transmission.

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KPIT

KPIT displayed ARAI certified Intelligent Transport System (ITS) for JNNURM II compliant buses. It comprises of a gamut of technologies that are said to facilitate better passenger travel experience. These include automatic vehicle location, over the air calibration, Passenger Information System (PIS), surveillance camera, emergency voice calling, ETM interface and Vehicle Health Monitoring & Diagnostics (VHMD).

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Eberspächer

Eberspächer Sütrak Bus Climate Control Systems India Pvt. Ltd., showcased a new air conditioning system meant for large buses (AC332). The company also showcased an AC for the mini bus segment manufactured at its Bengaluru facility.

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JTAC

Jingyi Trans Climate Control System India (P) Ltd., (JTAC) displayed a Snow Leopard AC series. The company specialises in the manufacture of a wide range of ACs for inter-city, intra-city, sleeper coach, staff, school and special application buses. With emphasis on an efficient support network to ensure a positive user experience, the company is looking to ride the growth wave in buses.

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Hiager India

Hiager India Air Conditioning Pvt. Ltd. displayed a bus AC model for 12 m and 14 m coaches. The company offers bus ACs in the 12 kW to 43 kW range. Suitable for use in five-metre to 14 m long buses, the ACs the company offers are claimed to be backed by an efficient support network.

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Pricol Ltd.

Pricol showcased its range of speed governors at the fair. These are aimed at addressing the regulatory need for fitting of speed governors of buses so that they do not exceed a stipulated maximum speed and compromise safety. The range consists of a DC motor type (single speed) governor and a fuel solenoid type (single speed and dual speed) governor. The latter features a micro-controller based design, and is claimed to not cause a reduction in the fuel flow to the engine ensuring full power to it.

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Allison Transmission

Allison displayed a cutaway of the auto transmission it offers. Claimed to elevate fuel efficiency, safety, and reliability by eliminating the shocks suffered by a manual transmission driveline every time the transfer of power is interrupted and re-introduced, the company caters to the need of truck, bus and defence vehicle manufacturers and users. Combining advanced features like ABS and EBS compatible integral retarders, the company has developed the T180 auto transmission model especially for the Indian market. It is deployed in front-engine buses plying in various cities in India, including the BRT buses in Ahmedabad.

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Hella India Lighting Ltd.

Hella India Lighting Ltd. displayed a host of products it supplies to the bus industry. Of particular interest were the halogen, xenon and LED lamps on display. The company immersed LED lamps in a tank of water to demonstrate their ability to work even under the most severe conditions without fail.

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Wheels India

Wheels India Ltd., displayed control and specialty products like leveling valve, electronic controlled air suspension and the electronic kneeling system among others.

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Cummins banks on advanced powertrain technologies

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Looking at India as an important market, Cummins Inc. is banking on advanced powertrain technologies to be a provider of choice.

Story by: Ashish Bhatia

Cummins Inc. announced an investment of Rs.300 crore towards the development of BSVI technologies and expansion of manufacturing facilities at Phaltan. The company also announced an investment of Rs.1000 crore to Rs.1500 crore towards the setting up of a technology centre at Pune. Claimed to be the biggest among the technology centres the company has, the one at Pune will go on stream by the end of this calender year, or by early next year. Hinting at a transformation that is taking place at Cummins India, and in-line with the global growth strategy of the parent, a conscious alignment of product portfolio is on to make it ‘fit-for-market’. With an eye on the future, the company is keen to provide a host of integrated solutions, with an objective to be the ‘powertrain provider of choice’. Cummins, according to Srikanth Padmanabhan, President, Cummins Engine Business, is concentrating on R&D and electrification of powertrains for commercial vehicles. Describing India as a key market for the company, Padmanabhan mentioned that focus will be on energy diversity, connectivity and automation. He drew attention to disruptive market drivers that have stemmed from a spate of regulatory compulsions. These are compelling enough to lower the carbon footprint, and apply relevant technology, he stated.

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Srikanth Padmanabhan, President, Cummins Engine Business, stressed on R&D and electrification of commercial vehicle powertrains.

Advanced powertrain technologies

Leveraging its global know-how and the capabilities it has built in India, Cummins will offer advanced powertrain technologies by tapping new opportunities in the area of engines and components. With the advantage of scale, the company is looking at working closely with its clients to help them to successful tide over new regulations. Also in the manufacture of turbo and aftertreatment systems, Cummins wants to pass the benefits to its customers by leveraging its capabilities. Said Padmanabhan, “We will continue to focus on BSVI and alternate propulsion for reasons of fuel efficiency and total cost of ownership.” He touched upon the SuperTruck I and SuperTruck II, and explained that additional work on the simulation of the engine would be done.

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Cummins will offer advanced powertrain technologies by tapping new opportunities in the area of engines and components.

In 2010, the US Department of Energy (DoE) initiated the SuperTruck programme to improve long-haul Class 8 vehicle freight efficiency, a metric that uses payload, weight and fuel efficiency. The two are defined as tonne-miles per gallon. Three projects under the SuperTruck programme are underway. One is a Cummins-Peterbilt project. The other two involve Daimler Trucks North America and Navistar Inc. Of these, the SuperTruck II project is the five-year USD 160 million program that will see four teams participate. They are the same, which participated in the SuperTruck I project. The teams will work to exceed the results achieved in the SuperTruck I project. The participants spent USD 78.4 million, a combination of federal funding and their own money on the SuperTruck I project, and achieved higher freight efficiency, mile per gallon, thermal efficiency including waste heat recovery, weight reduction and aerodynamic drag co-efficient reduction. SuperTruck II is looking for a 100 per cent increase in freight-hauling efficiency and a new engine-efficiency standard of 55 per cent, a 31 per cent increase from a 2009 baseline measurement. While freight efficiency is the amount of freight carried and miles traveled for each gallon of fuel consumed, engine efficiency, known as Brake Thermal Efficiency (BTE), is the ratio of fuel energy converted to power output at the engine’s crankshaft. The industry average BTE for a 2009 Class 8 engine was 42 per cent.

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To be a powertrain provider of choice, Cummins is expanding its business and capabilities in India.

Success

Applying the technological success of SuperTruck projects to real world CVs, Cummins released X15 engine series, a new diesel engine piston design and turbocharging system for Volvo Trucks North America. A redesigned 13-litre N13 engine is claimed to use several improvements derived from the SuperTruck project. These include new control logic and a high-efficiency combustion system. Mentioned Padmanabhan, “The focus is to leverage electronics in the interest of connected technologies and intelligence.” In the realm of powertrain integration, the company is looking to integrate the engine, transmission, axles, and brakes. The effort is to offer higher value. Connected software, over the air calibrations, diagnostics and prognostics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics (DA) are also the key focus areas of the company. Stressing upon the influence of changing emission norms on powertrain developments, Brett Merritt, General Manager, Global On-Highway Engine Business, said, “We want to be application driven in niche markets.” Continuing to invest in engines (of over 13-litre displacement) for leading markets, Merritt averred that the B-Series engines are selling the most. “It (B-Series engine) has a large marketshare in South America, North America, India and China,” he informed. Modifying the B-Series engine to accommodate a four-cylinder version for light-duty cycles, Cummins is keen to offer tailored solutions. In China, the company builds a 12-litre engine as the power and torque does not justify the use of a 15-litre engine. With the evolution of engines increasingly linked with emissions, technology and utilisation are taking precedence over costs. “There is a need to set aside future technologies as they will start to play out in the next five years,” Merritt mentioned.

Jennifer Rumsey, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Cummins Inc.,”The Eaton JV will help address the demand for carbon footprint reduction and fuel efficiency rise.

Electrification

Working on fully-electric powertrains with an intention to offer them by 2019, Cummins will introduce range extended engines next year. These, according to Padmanabhan, will be for buses, pick-ups and delivery vans. Looking at both, a battery-electric and a range extender, the company, as far as components are concerned, is focusing on aligning materials. To attain the vision of a fully-electric powertrain, it is concentrating on battery pack management. With attention on power electronics from a thermal management point of view, the ultimate objective, said Padmanabhan, is to have a reliable and high quality solution. Hybrid powertrains, he stated, would be applied in heavy-duty applications initially. “Electrification of the auxiliaries is the need of the hour. By 2019, a cost effective start-up solution with specific duty cycles will find its way to the Indian market,” mentioned Merritt. Touching upon the joint venture between Cummins and Eaton for M&HCVs formed in April 2017 to offer an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) product portfolio in the US, Merritt explained that a strong brand and service presence, in addition to a significant market share on the heavy duty side will be achieved. Cummins will bring its engine expertise and a strong presence to the table. In the interest of a sustainable product plan for five years the JV will focus on the development of advanced AMTs and integrated powertrains. It will also look at the development of a service network, and design and assembly of future M&HCV automated transmissions. Expected to expand its presence to other markets in the world, including India, the demand for reduction in carbon footprint and increase in fuel efficiency according to Jennifer Rumsey, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Cummins Inc., will be a significant calling factor as far as technology is concerned.

Sherry Aaholm,Vice President and Chief Information Officer, pointed at the digital accelerator initiative.

The future

To continue to play a significant role in some of the markets that Cummins is present in for a long time, diesel, if the trend for the future is anything to go by, is likely to throw up a contrasting picture. It will likely point at a move away from diesel. “We will continue to evolve,” said Rumsey. “We will provide a super power solution for CVs for transportation, off-highway, and stationary applications,” she informed. To include a continued focus on the internal combustion engine and its key components, the Super power solution, in India, will build on the ability to be frugal. Working towards meeting the BSVI challenge, Cummins is pursuing a ‘fit for market’ strategy in India. The company is addressing the need for a unique design and build methodology. This, it is confident, will increase its speed of development as well as output. Opined Rumsey, “Now is a critical period as far as the Indian market is concerned. With the NOx levels on the highways expected to go down by 30 per cent this year, and by 90 per cent when BSVI emission norms are enforced, Cummins is looking at a flurry of activities. According to Sherry Aaholm, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, new business concepts from the idea stage to commercial stage are being driven by leveraging resources from business units and functions under the ‘digital accelerator’ initiative. One such venture, said Aoholm, is Zed Connect. Zed Connect offers a smart phone app. called ‘Eld’. It was designed to electronically log hours for truck drivers and provide other key features for drivers and fleets. Such technologies may take time to come to India, the less advanced, and more relevant will not however.

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New pedestal crane from Demag

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A Terex brand, Demag offers PC 3800-1 pedestal crane with extended lifting performance possibilities at job sites that were previously hard to reach.

Team CV

Terex has introduced a new Demag pedestal crane called the PC 3800-1. It offers extended lifting performance possibilities, and provides access to job sites previously not reachable with a standard crawler model. Boasting strong load charts, especially with main boom only configurations, the PC 3800-1 helps to reduce ground preparation. Easy to transport, the crane significantly reduces the amount of time needed to prepare a jobsite for an operation. Typically crawler cranes require an adequately levelled supporting ground (slope of 0 degree to 0.3 degree) over a large area to achieve the nominal lifting capacity. This calls for extensive ground preparation prior to the lift job. The PC 3800-1, in contrast, needs four spots to be prepared for the outrigger supports. The outrigger supports do not need to be perfectly levelled as the outrigger cylinders can compensate tolerance on the ground’s flatness by up to 2.1 degree with a 12 x 12 m (39.4 x 39.4 ft.) outrigger base.

With the possibility of using existing pile foundations on the top of the outrigger base as outrigger supports for the PC 3800-1 to provide sufficient stability, the versatility of the Demag pedestal crane makes it beneficial in terms of usage and ground preparation. Beneficial on jobsites where ground layout and structure are already existing, which is often the case on harbour quays and refineries, as well as when installing bridges from river banks, the PC 3800-1 pedestal, with its hydraulic extendable and foldable outriggers, that can be positioned at 12 x 12 m (39.4 x 39.4 ft), and 14 x 14 m (46 x 46 ft) with all configurations including Superlift and 16 x 16 m (62.5 x 62.5ft) without super lift.

Making for additional long-reach possibilities where the lifting capacity of a crawler crane would normally be limited, the PC 3800-1 pedestal crane also provides increased lifting performance in several configurations. It requires less counterweight for the same or slightly higher lifting capacities. Less counterweight means fewer trucks, translating into significantly reduced transportation costs. For additional versatility, Demag has also developed an adapter to connect the carbody (center pot) of the crane to a self-propelled modular trailer or axle lines. Axle lines are commonly found on jobs involving lifting bridge sections, gantries or wind turbine assemblies, which means that the crane can be easily relocated on a jobsite partially rigged, while leveraging the use of axle lines. Depending on road regulations, the Demag PC 3800-1 equipped with axle lines can be adapted easily to match a 12-tonne load per axle, or to have a cross vehicle weight below 100-tonne. This can be done with many axle lines from multiple manufacturers.

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SmartShift expands operations

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SmartShift, a Mahindra Group venture, has expanded its operation to Chennai.

Team CV

A digital start-up from the Mahindra Group, SmartShift has launched its operations in Chennai. It is the fifth city that marks the entry of the company. Signalling an expansion of operations, the start up company operates in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad. Working towards elevating the efficiency in the last mile transport space, SmartShift is acting as a platform for cargo owners and transporters to work with each other, smoothly and flawlessly.

Ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship for both, the cargo owners and transporters, SmartShift is an intra-city digital load exchange platform. Enabling efficient transportation from one point to the other, SmartShift was developed to empower consignees (both businesses and individual users) to avail of an efficient service. They can access SmartShift service through an Android-based mobile app. They can also access SmartShift through a website, or the dedicated call centre. The key differentiator that SmartShift brings to the last mile transport logistics space is the ‘reverse bidding’ feature. The app. successfully emulates the bargaining process between consignees and transporters. It allows them to close the deal at a mutually acceptable price.

In 21 months since launch, SmartShift has emerged as the leading industry player in Mumbai and Hyderabad. It is gaining unprecedented traction in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, claim industry sources. Said to have become a preferred choice for over 16,000 stakeholders, clocking over 1500 transactions per day approximately, SmartShift is looking at the next phase. It is looking to achieve an ambitious milestone of creating a community of one-million stakeholders over the next three years. Kausalya Nandakumar, CEO, SmartShift, at the launch of SmartShift in Chennai, said, “We are delighted to enter the state of Tamil Nadu by launching our operations in one of its largest cities, Chennai. The city is in many ways a gateway to a state that has the largest SCV penetration. Tamil Nadu is a mature market with a strong industrial base. We believe this market has both the need and digital presence to adopt a transport aggregator model like ours. We are confident of driving exponential value in this market.”

With the logistics industry in India pegged at USD 130 billion according to a report, 35 per cent to 40 per cent of it is said to be in the intra-city space. It is expected that 18 lakh small commercial vehicles will carry out millions of transactions everyday, and across the country. “Going ahead we will not only focus on enabling improved business productivity for our customers but also nurture customer relationships, moving beyond mere transactional business,” mentioned Nandakumar.

Offering transparent pricing, and an efficient simple one-click booking process with the ability to track cargo after dispatch, SmartShift, claim industry sources, is already turning out to be a significant player. Citing the knowledge advantage SmartShift could profit from as part of the Mahindra Group, which has a stake in the Indian CV space, and an understanding of the ecosystem, sources opine that an amount of dynamic agility is expected of the company. As the first intrapreneurial start-up incubated within the Mahindra Group, SmartShift combines the process, governance and discipline of a large mature business with the tenacity, nimbleness and fierce competitiveness of a start-up. As a young company SmartShift is said to be strongly leveraging the multi-disciplinary mentorship of the Mahindra Group. It is also said to be leveraging the access to 150 Mahindra Group companies, working as a seamless logistics solution partner.

The unique SmartShift service allows consignees to book a vehicle in less than three minutes; negotiate the best price through a unique first of its kind ‘bidding’ feature. The service also enables the consignees to choose from a range of certified and trained SmartShifters. It enables the consignees to track the selected SmartShifter and ensure that the consignment is delivered safely and securely. Allowing cargo transporters to enjoy more business through faster and easier order receiving technology, SmartShift is making life easier for transporters and fleets. To avail of more business, it is also providing the option to accept or decline a delivery request based on pricing, or the availability of vehicles. Transporters also get an opportunity to explore and expand to other markets; to look forward to a higher earning potential.

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Aiming to expand to 29 cities with 70 per cent of the SCV base in the country, the near-term plan of SmartShift is to cover metro cities. The company is currently following a well charted road map, which includes an expansion to Pune, Kolkata, Jaipur, Chandigarh, and Delhi NCR. Looking at turning the daily logistics requirements of SMEs at least 30 per cent more efficient, SmartShift, for transporters, is providing a first in the industry feature of phone integration and efficient pricing through return trips. With focus on community building, SmartShift is said to look at disrupting the present inefficient ecosystem. Driven by an ambitious goal of owning cargo transportation in the country, SmartShift currently services more than 1000 pin codes in four cities.

Shuttl promotes ‘SAFE’ commute

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Bus aggregator, Shuttl, is promoting ‘SAFE’ commute to attract more footfall.

Story by: Anirudh Raheja

With office commute a tough challenge in Indian cities for many, aggregators are finding a calling. Even as Uber and Ola strive to expand the boundaries of their business by looking at buses, three-wheelers and two-wheelers, the need for safe travel is most felt. After the reporting of some untoward incidences in various medias, the need for safe commute has been gathering stream, especially among women. Finding a calling, bus aggregator Shuttl has launched ‘SAFE’. An acronym for Secure Anxiety Free Experience, ‘SAFE’ aims at women commuters as part of Shuttl’s endeavour to provide a safe and secure commuting experience to all and the sundry. A prototype that will be applied in the ‘beta’ form in Delhi National Capital Region to start with, ‘SAFE’ contains multiple safety tools for passengers. Leveraging technology and data according to Shuttl founders Amit Singh and Deepanshu Malviya, ‘SAFE’ is designed to transform the way Indians commute. Designed to make commuting safe and secure, ‘SAFE’ will roll out over the next three qurters. Tailored to address the complex travel requirements of commuters in Delhi NCR, ‘SAFE’, according to Sing, will touch each of the 20,000 rides the company undertakes per day.

A venture of Super Highway Labs, Shuttl is funded by Lightspeed Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Times Internet. The company has tied up with 250 operators, and operates a fleet of 450 buses on 50 routes. Building routes one at a time to overcome the complexity posed by Delhi NCR, Shuttl worked closely with JCBL and SML Isuzu to develop ‘SAFE’. Developed at JCBL under SML Isuzu according to Singh, ‘SAFE’ is a pilot midi bus. It is built as per the specifications proposed by Shuttl engineers, and with a prime aim to deliver a safe ride to the commuters. Expressed Malviya, “Traditional understanding of data as text and numbers has gone through a paradigm shift with the advent of ‘Machine Learning’ and ‘Internet of Things (IoT). By using image and sensor data we are now taking a big leap forward in deriving intelligence to deliver a safe experience for our customers.” In the process, Shuttl is also looking at lower costs. The company resorted to local manufacturer to lower costs. It roped in Raspberry Pi 3, Open CV, DLIB, and Arduino Uno for tech updates. Pocket size systems like Raspeberry Pi are known to cost not more than Rs.2,500.

Safe and secure

Hosting numerous features for an authentic trip, ‘SAFE’ was developed in house. The system starts operation according to Singh from the bus captain. The driver cockpit, he mentioned, has been equipped with an alcohol sensor, placed in close proximity to the driver. The alcohol sensor will cut off the ignition the instance it detects any alcoholic substance. An audible warning is raised. To further enhance security, camera in the driver’s cabin could be installed. The camera will monitor the driver’s body language. It will check if he is feeling drowsy, or is distracted by a smart phone; is not paying enough attention on the road. As part of ‘SAFE’, the company is also using technology to identify the driver. This is to avoid any directional flaw. Drivers understanding Hindi or English will be undergo route training and behaviour training. If the systems observes that the driver is drunk, it will have the bus terminate the route at the next stop. Tying up with OnGrid and India Stack to authenticate drivers, Shuttl is keen to incorporate changes in ‘SAFE’ to make it even more effective and fool proof.

Authentication

Expressing that the face is the password, Singh averred, “The system necessitates facial recognition of the passenger expected to board the bus.” To make the procedure devoid of friction, a camera has been fitted at the entry point. It makes certain that the right passenger has boarded the bus. Once the picture of the commuter is uploaded, passenger verification will eliminate any possibility of bus overload and ticket check while boarding, said Singh. He stated, “Since we have face detection in place, we can use ‘Aadhar API’ to authenticate the user and get him on-board without any human intervention. This would eliminate the need to book a ticket, or a slot.

The ‘SAFE’ bus has also been equipped with a CCTV camera. It could provide a live feed. In case the passenger is keen that he or she be tracked by his or her dear ones, all that he or she has to do is to share a URL link. The URL link shared with passenger can thus be traced for live footage by friends and family. In case of any emergency, the Shuttl App. SOS feature could be used to raise an alarm. A panic button has also been placed near the front door for physical access. The ‘homecheck’ feature ensures a call back confirmation for a safe arrival at home.

Convenience

Shuttl ‘SAFE’ buses offer free ‘Wi Fi’ services to those who are on board. Commuters can thus allow them to under take personal work. The buses could be also fitted with a television screen for on board entertainment. For privacy, commuters are supplied with personal earphone jacks. They could control the level of engagement and sound. “Earphones will not only keep the sound levels low inside the bus, they will also provide commuters with a space of their own,” said Singh. To be rolled out in a phased manner, Shuttl is optimistic about ‘SAFE’. It is confident of its acceptance. Both, Singh and Malviya, are of the opinion that ‘SAFE’ should be accepted in Delhi NCR first. Expansion of ‘SAFE’ to other cities will follow once the technology is found relevant in the Delhi NCR market. “Building a mass system is quite a task. Add to it the task of operating a bus that is used by 40 people, and it only becomes more complex, signed off Malviya.

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Q. When will ‘SAFE’ services take-off?

A. Emergency tool kits like SOS and ‘homecheck’ will be rolled out immediately. Driver authentication will follow soon after. It will be six months before every feature is rolled out. Like any other app., one could register for authorisation. In case of facial recognition, we have a fall back mechanism. We also have a sound-based technology that we are using for commuter authentication. There is a sound that is emitted by the mobile phone that is detected by the driver’s phone. Authentication is thus accomplished.

Q. Such technologies come at a cost. Does the commuter end up with a burden?

A. Like the face recognition algorithm, many technologies are software-based. It is the same with the one that monitors the driver behaviour. To keep the costs low, we scale up the technologies to a certain level. It is the same with the hardware. Costing no more than the cost of a mobile phone, it will not make much difference over the lifetime of an asset.

Q. How big is your fleet?

A. We influence the purchase of buses, but do not own them. All the buses that we engage are run by third party operators. These include 30-, 40- and 50- seat buses depending on the route that they take. We have long term agreement with those who own these buses and maintain them. We have tied up with them for a periodic payment, which has nothing to do with the number of commuters taking the bus and the fare we are charging. We influence the bus specifications as per our requirement. This is in terms of seats, AC power, charging points, and more. Since most OEMs already offer most of the specifications that we require, it serves us to tie up with them. Part of our requirement includes bigger windows and higher capacity air conditioners.

Q. Do you insist on a separate driver cabin?

A. There are certain buses where the driver cabin is inaccessible to passengers. In certain buses like Travelers, the driver and commuters are part of the same saloon. We call for regular feedback from commuters. He or she can speak out about any issue faced. If the feedback involves driver misbehavior, we immediately appraise the our vendor of the same.

Q. For technologies, what kind of an association are you looking at?

A. We have associated with OnGird for Aadhar-based verification of the drivers, and for police verification. We have developed a three-tiered training module for the drivers. He should be able to understand and use our apps. He should follow the right route; behave and be sensitive to the needs of the commuters. He should know what action to take in case of an emergency We conduct refresher training and audits to ensure the driver offers a good service.

Q. How do you chalk out the routes?

A. We keep increasing the frequency, and the span of our buses as per the demand. Some of our vendors have grown with us. They have grown from having one bus when they joined us. I believe that the 30-to 35-seat buses make for good mathematics. They do good speeds, and are comfortable. We have many 40-seat buses too. We are currently working with 250 vendors. They have been supporting us with ample fleet. We are currently helping them only to procure more buses and build up our existing system. So we are looking forward to grow strongly. For route engineering, we have building up data from Google maps. We are tying up with telecom companies to design routes. We have been able to build an algorithm which allows us to design a network such that we are catering to all the demand pockets. We look at data in detail so that we are able to iterate on the route. If we feel that the pick-up point is not working then we could change it after a week based on customer feedback. It doesn’t happen such that a route will start after watching that there is much crowd at Dhaula Kuan. For any route to begin, it has to be supported by data.

Q. What made you to opt for alcohol detection system?

A. We integrated alcohol detection system into ‘SAFE’ to enhance safety and security. If the driver tries to switch off the system or tried to tamper with it, we are immediately informed. It may not be possible for us to monitor 450 driver cabins at all-tome, or in one go, what is possible for us to do is to get a live feed. If a passenger wants to monitor the driver it is possible for him or her to do so. If any anomaly is detected, our team takes steps to recover it.

Q. Awareness about the routes Shuttl runs seems to be lacking. Any steps you are taking to increase awareness?

A. The nature of the business that we are in is of the supply constraint type rather than of the demand constraint type. When we launch a route, we do some ground activation initially. Post that it is largely organic in nature, and accompanied with a referral channel that we have on our app. When people tend to see our buses in their area, they tend to load our app. So these are the channels that are working for us. Wherever we see that there is a lack of demand, we use digital marketing to attract commuters. The way we see it, a city like Delhi needs many more buses than it has. When we will come to operate 1500 buses or more, our visibility will be much higher. The need to convey that such a service exists will no longer be there. Interestingly, people tend to find us rather than we finding them. Our challenge is not only get more buses, but to get better routes and coverage.

Q. It should be a tough business?

A. It is a tough business. The pool ride business of cab operators does not effect us since they operate for short distances. There are certain areas where we lock horns with them. Those areas are limited. What we are doing is targeting people who will leave their cars behind and ride with us.

Q. Aren’t regulations proving to be hard to navigate past?

A. The sad part that we are witnessing is terming a service illegal. It is not illegal. It is compliant with the Motor Vehicle Act, and with the Contract Carriage Act. We need to maintain a passenger list as per the contract carriage. For the safety program, that was the concept we worked with from the very start. The way to look at it is that there is a lack of understanding. Awareness is needed. We hope that awareness will be achieved at some point. The fact is, commuters are benefiting from the service that we offer. Rules should be framed to encourage such businesses. At the end of the day we are trying to give people a safe commuting medium. We would like them to leave their cars behind. This will reduce pollution. We are aware that it takes time to understand technology. The Act at no point says that there is a need to maintain a physical list. Cash transactions were restricted. Ticketing was pointed out at. We work on a subscription-based model. Multiple stops was pointed out, which again is not listed under the Contract Carriage Act. School buses cannot operate with a single stop.