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Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, one of the premier institutions of higher learning in India, inaugurated a 15 crore Automotive Research & Technology Center (AARTC), a joint venture between Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and Automotive Test Systems on 28th of January 2015. The facility was inaugurated by Dr. K. Tamilmani, Director General, Aeronautical Systems, DRDO and the Guest of Honour was Ms. Rashmi Urdhwarshe, Director, ARAI, Pune. Speaking at the facility inauguration, Rashmi Urdhwarshe said the creation of the right research environment in an institution is a great step and the facility has great potential to work in the areas of environment, road safety and energy efficiency. She also agreed to extend full support from ARAI. Dr. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor , Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Ramanathan, Managing Partner, Automated Test Systems,  Prof. Parameswaran, Director – Corporate & Industry Relations, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Dr. Sasangan Ramanathan, Dean of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Dr. Thirumalini, Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Prof. S. Raju, Advisor AARTC, were the other dignitaries present on the occasion.

The center will assist the automotive industry in areas like vehicle evaluation, vehicle cooling and HVAC Studies, Road Load Data Acquisition, Emission, Simulation – Structural and CFD, Multibody dynamics etc.  M. Tech. and PhD students will avail this facility for research.

Post the inaugural ceremony, the day saw a panel discussion on Building successful partnerships between academia and industry. The distinguished panelists included Ms. Rashmi Urdhwarshe, Director, ARAI, Pune; Mr. Sajid Mubashir, Member, R & D, National Automotive Board, Delhi; Dr. N. Karuppaiah, Additional Director, NATRAX, Indore; Mr. D. Thiyagaraj, Vice President, Craftsman Automation, Coimbatore; Dr. P. V. Mohanram, Principal, PSG Institute of Technology & Applied Research, Coimbatore and Mr. R. Vijayakumar, GM, Design, Simulation and NVH Testing at REBI, Bangalore. The panel discussion was moderated by Prof. R. Subbarao, Chairman, Department of Chemical Engineering, Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore. Speakers from industry opined that, while undertaking research, the physics of the problem should be understood rather than focusing on software utilization. The research can be of two types such as curiosity-based research and research for the development of innovative products which can be useful to the society. By the time students complete their graduation, they should be industry-ready. There was also a general concern that competent students should prefer to join core companies.

Post the panel discussion, concurrent workshops and technical sessions were held on 28th and 29th January 2015, with eminent speakers from various industries speaking on three topics, viz. “On road evaluation of vehicles”, “Vehicle simulation including hardware in Loop”, and “Power plants including electric and hybrid vehicles”.

The technical session on “On road evaluation of vehicles” started with a session on ‘Methods for evaluation of vehicle handling’ handled by Dr. N. Karuppaiah, Natrax, Indore. Other sessions included ‘General principles of data acquisition and RLDA’ by Mr. Saurabh Chitnavis, ATS, Pune; ‘Advances in ground vehicle technology’ by Dr.Vijay Damodharan, VP, General Motors; ‘New generation vehicle speed measurement devices’ by Mr. Klaus Wiemert, Kistler, Germany; ‘Estimation of tyre noise’ by Mr. Prakash Bohara, ATS, Delhi; ‘NVH of auto electrical components’ by Mr. Ganesh Ramakrishnan, Bosch (RBEI), Bangalore; and ‘Application of “FAMOS” software and demo’ by Mr. Daniel Foerder, IMC, Germany.

The workshop on “Vehicle simulation including hardware in Loop” was held for two days for industry employees, M. Tech. students and B. Tech. students by Mr. Prasana Kannan, IPG, Germany. The software used was CarMaker. In this workshop, the participants were introduced to the software and simulation of performance trial including fuel consumption and the gradient module.

The technical sessions on “Power plants including electric and hybrid vehicles” started with a session on ‘Diesel engine technology – present and future’ handled by Dr. P.A. Lakshminarayanan, Technical Advisor, Simpsons & Co. Ltd, Chennai. Other sessions were: ‘Optimizing engine performance using fast response combustion measurement– video lecture’ by Dr. Mark Peckham, Director, Cambustion, U.K.;  ‘Technical trends for commercial vehicle engine emissions – BS 3 & BS 4’ by Mr. Yogesh Bolar, Ashok Leyland Technical Centre, Chennai; ‘EHVS – Govt. strategies for the present and future – initiatives and implementation’ by Mr. Sajid Mubashir, Member, R&D, National Automotive Board, Delhi; ‘EV & hybrid technology in two wheeler’ by Dr. S.Dhinagar, TVS Motors, Hosur; ‘Business excellence in product creation– green cars with green eco-systems’ by Mr.Umesh Krishnappa – Mahindra Reva; ‘Emission legislation- a global outlook’ by Mr. H.A. Nakhwa, Dy. Director, Arai, Pune; ‘Engine combustion measurement technologies’ by Dr. Andreas Bartola, Kistler, Swizerland; and ‘Particulate number measurement’ by Dr. Andreas Knetcht, Matter – A Testo Group Company, Germany.

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