Amidst steadily evolving priorities and redefining mobility, automakers worldwide and within India have been leveraging emerging technology to create best-in-class products. In addition to sustainability and connected technology, safety has become one of the foremost priorities in the mind of the customer.
The increased focus on road safety in recent years through public safety campaigns, the introduction of new laws and regulations and advancement in road safety technology has pushed Indian automakers to take mindful steps to incorporate contemporary safety features in their offerings to customers. The provision for both active and passive safety within vehicles has received renewed emphasis, with the Indian government relaying extended significance on the need for safety features in cars.
Accordingly, some of the major OEMs have converged their innovation and technological capabilities to provide safety solutions that can be revolutionary for the industry. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is one such safety mechanism that has been steadily gaining acceptance amongst buyers across the world.
Relevance To India
While India’s reputation for road safety has been improving with persistent efforts from all stakeholders, the situation is different in urban and rural areas – commonly referred to as ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’. Safety remains a grave public health concern, as there has been an unjustified loss of lives over the years. This has led the government and industry stakeholders to take notice and address these prevalent issues.
Certain areas like safe driving behaviour, superior road infrastructure across geographies and democratising of advanced vehicle safety technologies need to be addressed. With Indian automobile customers becoming more aware and educated in terms of safety, offering driving aids like ADAS would certainly help improve India’s road safety situation. The Indian Government too has been undertaking serious efforts to raise the pitiful level of road safety and has set regulations to up the safety quotient on Indian roads.
As important safety technology such as ADAS begins to gain mass adoption in the country, the Government and OEMs will have to work together more closely to ensure that the robust road infrastructure and safe vehicles will help save precious lives and minimise injuries, positively impacting India's accident statistics.
A Case For ADAS
A system like ADAS is becoming increasingly relevant within the Indian automotive market, as a smart technology that actively enhances vehicular safety by preventing or reducing the impact of potential accidents. The need for such an advanced safety feature is in fact very strong in the current market.
A recent study suggests that Indian buyers are willing to share vehicle and operational data with their car manufacturers to get safer driving experiences, with a significant 85% preferring to get safe route updates, and 84% preferring to get maintenance updates and updates to improve road safety and prevent collisions.
ADAS comprises several sub-systems that alert the driver of a variety of potential threats on the road, with systems for autonomous emergency braking, forward collision indicators, lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, etc. Together, they elevate the vehicle’s safety by encouraging drivers to be more alert on the road, and in some instances, even taking some automated steps that can minimise damage. If utilised mindfully, they can significantly improve driver behaviour, make safe driving a conscious experience, and ultimately, make Indian roads much safer.
The Future Of ADAS: From Being An Option To Becoming A Necessity
Customers today are even willing to pay a cost premium if it assures enhanced safety for their car. As demand for advanced technologies that meet this customer need rises, it becomes a compelling reason to buy ADAS-enabled cars. OEMs will gradually invest more of their research and resources to fine-tune the safety offerings in their portfolio, armouring them with smart tech interventions.
The key for democratisation of this technology in India would be to address the unique use cases with road conditions and traffic as well as find segment specific solutions to lower the cost of the technology. With this increasing safety demand and specific solutions for entry-level cars, costs will also eventually come down, making safety accessible to all people.
All industries function and grow only in tandem with evolving customer needs and aspirations. The automotive sector is no different. Safety is no longer a secondary consideration, and with customers taking conscious steps towards making it a critical metric when purchasing a car, the future of a smart, tech-driven, and safe future of Indian mobility seems promising.
Beyond Level 2 ADAS, the barometer shifts from being safety focused to adding elements of convenience, which automakers are on their path to introduction.
ADAS is a game changer for the Indian consumer, providing enhanced safety, convenience, cost savings, and future-proofing capabilities. Moreover, it aligns with the aspirations of Indian consumers for advanced technology, improved road safety, and a better driving experience. However, it’s important to keep in mind that although the current ADAS systems is an important tool for guaranteeing the safety of passengers and the vehicle, it cannot replace human intervention because its sole purpose is to help drivers pay closer attention to the road.
About the Author: Mohan Savarkar is Vice President, Product Line at Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles