<p>The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has classified autonomous driving into six levels, ranging from Level 0 to 5. </p>
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has classified autonomous driving into six levels, ranging from Level 0 to 5.

New Delhi: In recent years, the Indian automotive industry has witnessed significant advancements in driving technologies. With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), cars are becoming smarter and more capable of performing complex tasks without human intervention.

One of the most notable advancements is the proliferation of autonomous driving technologies, where cars are equipped with sensors, cameras, and advanced technologies like ADAS to perceive their surroundings and make intelligent decisions. Additionally, advancements in connectivity have transformed cars into mobile hubs, enabling seamless integration with smartphones, navigation systems, and other smart devices.

According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global autonomous vehicle market was valued at USD 76.13 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 2,161 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 40.1% from 2021 to 2030, creating a global transformation in transportation. While these figures highlight the immense potential and market demand for autonomous driving technologies, we still have a long way to go before we achieve complete autonomy in vehicles.

Let’s dive deep into the current level of cars in India and how we can up our game to keep up with global players:

Autonomy level in India vs. other countries

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has classified autonomous driving into six levels, ranging from Level 0 to 5. The SAE classification provides a clear framework for understanding the different levels of automation in cars. Level 0 represents vehicles with no autonomous features, while Level 1 includes basic driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control. Level 2 introduces partial automation, enabling the car to control steering and acceleration simultaneously under certain conditions, with the driver responsible for monitoring. Level 3 represents conditional automation, where the vehicle can manage most aspects of driving but may require human intervention in specific situations. Levels 4 and 5 involve high automation and full automation, respectively, where the vehicle can handle all driving tasks without any human input.As of now, India predominantly operates at Level 1 and Level 2 automation. Many vehicles in the Indian market offer features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and automated emergency braking. However, these systems require constant driver attention and intervention, limiting the autonomy of the vehicle.

When compared to countries like the United States, Germany, and Japan, India is still lagging in terms of autonomous driving capabilities. These countries have made significant progress in developing and deploying Level 3 and higher automation technologies. For instance, companies like Tesla, BMW, and Toyota have introduced semi-autonomous features that allow their vehicles to perform complex maneuvers without continuous driver intervention.

Moving from Level 2 to 3

To move from Level 2 to Level 3 cars, India needs to embrace advanced technologies such as sensor fusion, AI, ML, and improved connectivity. Sensor fusion combines data from various sensors like Radar and LiDAR to create a comprehensive view of the vehicle’s surroundings. AI and ML algorithms can analyze this data and make real-time decisions, enhancing the vehicle’s ability to navigate complex environments. Additionally, improved connectivity through V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communication can enable cars to exchange information with other vehicles, infrastructure, and pedestrians, enhancing safety and efficiency.

Role of semiconductors

Semiconductors play a crucial role in enabling advanced automotive technologies. They power the electronic systems that control autonomous features, process data from sensors, and execute AI algorithms. Currently, level 2 vehicles possess advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that require semiconductors for functions like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance.

However, the move to level 3 autonomy, where the vehicle can handle most driving tasks independently, demands even more advanced semiconductors for real-time decision-making, sensor fusion, and complex algorithms. These semiconductors enable the integration of lidar, radar, and camera systems, allowing vehicles to perceive their surroundings accurately and make informed decisions. As India strives to adopt higher levels of autonomous technology, the development and adoption of specialized automotive-grade semiconductors will be essential to ensure reliability, efficiency, and safety in autonomous vehicles.


Several challenges need to be addressed for a successful transition. Firstly, infrastructure development is crucial, including the installation of robust communication networks and smart traffic management systems. Secondly, high-speed networking and wireless connectivity, such as 5G networks and Wi-Fi 6, play a crucial role in autonomous vehicles’ functioning. Multi-Gigabit Ethernet with time-sensitive networking (TSN) ensures quality of service (QoS) and enables seamless data sharing across the vehicle are some aspects of technology that are still not widespread in India.

Additionally, ensuring data privacy and cybersecurity will be critical, as autonomous vehicles rely on extensive data sharing. Moreover, public acceptance and trust in autonomous vehicles must be fostered through awareness campaigns and stringent safety regulations.

The way forward

The Indian government has recognized the potential of autonomous driving and has taken several initiatives to promote its development. The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) and National Automotive Policy, which aims to create a favorable environment for automotive research, development, and manufacturing are some of the few initiatives to accelerate the transformation. The government should continue to provide supportive policies and incentives for research and development in autonomous driving technologies. Collaborations between academia, industry, and research institutions will be essential to foster innovation and knowledge exchange.

In conclusion, while India is currently operating at Level 2 automation, the transition to Level 3 and beyond requires significant technological advancements. Furthermore, with the right government policies, industry collaborations, and public support, India can successfully move towards higher levels of autonomy in the automotive sector, transforming the way we travel and enhancing safety and efficiency on the roads.

(Disclaimer: Hitesh Garg is the Vice President and the India Managing Director of NXP Semiconductors. Views are personal.)

  • Published On Feb 7, 2024 at 02:35 PM IST

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