The Union State programme gives Belarusian-Russian automotive industry a global presence
The Union automotive industry cannot ignore the pressure of foreign competitors. A quick survey of any major road verifies that foreign passenger cars and trucks drive by in a continuous stream. There are both financial and economic reasons for their dominant presence. Experts insist that success in today’s industry is determined primarily by two components: quality and efficiency of production.
In particular, outdated, inefficient technologies push our equipment off the world highway. The level of technological expertise level lags behind, and attention to comfort in design is also inadequate by foreign market standards. The fuel saving device, braking system, even the electric window regulator — behind all these features are ‘intelligent’ electronic microchips or similar devices. All these features are specialised products, which for many years were considered unnecessary to develop for our local automotive industry. As a result, we have lost both time and a substantial part of the market.
This challenging issue has been repeatedly discussed, with the participation of experts in the Standing Committee of the Union State, and now a solution for what is termed a ‘breakthrough’ task has been established. With the aid of scientific and technical programmes financed from the Union budget, and in accordance with the Decision of the Council of Ministers of the Union State adopted in May 2016, a programme, code-named ‘Autoelectronics’, is being launched to develop electronic components for control and safety automobile systems.
Just before code-name ‘Autoelectronics’ was conceived, Integral OJSC in Minsk held a large-scale Belarusian-Russian meeting. The goal was to kick-start procedures immediately after adopting the programme. Specific contractors of the various programme sections were determined on a competitive basis. From the Belarusian side, Integral OJSC began the selection of participants while Scientific and Production Enterprise Radar MMS OJSC, well-known for its high-tech developments in the transport sector, was engaged from the Russian side.
The Ministry of Industry for Belarus, the programme’s state customer, outlined details of the scientific and technical problems that will need to be jointly tackled. The primary goal will be to achieve a technical level of parity with western automotive vehicles, based on domestic developments in order to provide a large-scale import substitution.
Currently, Belarus and Russia use the Euro-4 environmental standard for automotive vehicles. At the same time, Euro-5 and Euro-6 vehicles are produced in Western Europe. It is necessary to improve production standards to achieve these indicators without spending hundreds of millions of dollars on imported components and parts.
In order to make this a viable production target, four main areas of scientific and technical research were identified for the focus of Belarusian and Russian scientists and specialists. They include traffic management systems for automotive vehicles, intelligent security systems, electrical equipment control systems, information collection systems and sensors. The research focus has been agreed upon by leading scientific centres, including the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Communications, along with other key agencies from both countries.
The participating enterprises and organizations in the programme have now been determined. The Belarusian participants are Minsk Automobile Works, Minsk Motor Plant, the Wheeled Wheel Tractor Plant and BELAZ.
The Russian participants are the leading automotive enterprises KAMAZ, GAZ, and Ural JSC. They will prepare design specifications, which will then be implemented into microchips by various electronics specialist companies. In addition to the Minsk-based Integral, those companies in Belarus will include MPOVT OJSC, Horizont Holding Management Company and its enterprises, and Izmeritel JSC in Vitebsk.
Over the next four years, a total of about forty baseline technologies for the production of automotive electronic components are to be developed with the substantial funding allocated from the Union State budget.
Now the next urgent but exciting task lies ahead: the creation of a safe automobile for the future.
By Vladimir Yakovlev