The full-fledged testing and homologation facility developed by the Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC) at Oragadam, Chennai, was formally inaugurated by Union Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises Minister, Anant G Geete.
GARC works under the aegis of the NATRiP (National Automotive Testing & R&D Infra Project). GARC-Chennai, with an overall investment of Rs 963 crore, is the largest endeavour under NATRiP.
GARC, which is one of the six facilities being developed under NATRiP, covers 304 acres and houses a host of automotive test facilities. Of this, the test track covers three-fourths of the total land area. It has five different types of test tracks – high speed track (HST), gradient or hill track, external noise track (ENT), braking surface track (BST) and steering pad.
GARC will have a steering pad track, external noise test tracks, hill test tracks with varying gradients, ABS test tracks with different friction surfaces and a 4.5km-long high-speed test track for homologation activities. The total cost of test tracks project is Rs 193.25 crore.
GARC-Chennai has full-fledged homologation test facilities, including test tracks, to certify all categories of vehicles, systems and components as per national and international standards. Some of the operational laboratories include the mileage accumulation chassis dynamometer, pedestrian safety lab, photometry lab, safety component lab, vibration shaker lab and RDU.
Importantly, the facility has major automobile manufacturers in its vicinity – like Hyundai Motor India, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, Renault, Nissan, Ford India, BMW India – and also several leading Indian and foreign component manufacturers. Recently, the government of India has notified GARC as one of the authorised test agencies for Type Approval and Homologation Testing under Rule No.126 of CMVR.
GARC is now notified under the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 to issue test certificates for homologation. Located in the southern India automotive hub of Chennai, its facilities are expected to be used by automotive OEMs and component manufacturers for homologation and R&D purposes.
Banking on auto
Speaking at the inauguration, Geete said the Indian automotive sector plays a very important role in country’s manufacturing sector and is likely to contribute around 12 percent in the country’s GDP over the next decade. At present, the sector contributes approximately 7.1 percent.
The minister said the government is also promoting the use of electric vehicles under the FAME India Scheme as it would help reduce the dependency on oil imports. NATRiP will play a crucial role to achieve the goals set by the government in the automotive sector under various initiatives like Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP), the upcoming BS VI emission norms, Make in India and Skill India.
He said that NATRiP is the largest and one of the most significant initiative and partnership of the Government of India in the automotive sector to create a state-of-the-art testing, validation and R&D infrastructure in the country.