More Than Technology, Road Discipline Can Curb Fatalities

Mobility Outlook Bureau
01 Dec 2022
05:02 PM
4 Min Read

At a webinar on 2W safety organised by Mobility Outlook, experts from the automotive ecosystem deliberated on the issues that lead to accidents and fatalities and discussed ways and means to contain them.

Making Mobility Safe, Secure
Inaugural Session: Deepangshu Dev Sarmah, Editor, Mobility Outlook (Top Left); Prashanth Doreswamy, President & CEO, Continental India (Top Right) and Dr Arun Jaura, Chief Technology Officer, Hero MotoCorp (Bottom). 

The number of road accidents in India has been consistently increasing, with around 1.5 lakh deaths every year. In addition, the severity of accidents, defined as the number of persons killed per 100 accidents, has risen sharply from 21.6 in 2005 to 36 in 2020. 

According to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), the severity of accidents that took place in 2020 was the highest in two decades. Out of the total road accidents reported in the country in 2020, 32% occurred on National Highways & Expressways, 25% on State Highways, and 43% on other roads. 

Two-wheelers accounted for the highest share of total accidents and fatalities among vehicle categories involved in road accidents during 2020. Light vehicles comprising cars, SUVs, and taxis came a distant second. These indicators prompted Mobility Outlook to organise the second virtual edition of “Making Mobility Safe, Secure” on Wednesday, which strove to dive deeply into technologies and solutions that make future vehicles safer and more secure. 

Delivering the special address, Prashanth Doreswamy, President & CEO, Continental India, said many OEMs are looking at advanced active/ passive safety technologies to bring down fatal road accidents. However, these are offered in premium vehicles due to higher costs. 

The number of fatal accidents is a huge concern for India and the auto industry. Road safety is critical for pedestrians and vehicle users. However, the life-saving safety features will be influenced by policies and creating public awareness. 

Doreswamy said that Continental is working on affordable low-cost ABS targeting the mass market 125 cc segment with one channel system. Talking from the 4Ws perspective, he said that with a 5G network, connected car technologies are bound to increase in India. By 2030, vehicles are likely to see more than a billion lines of coding, he added. 

Dr Arun Jaura, CTO, Hero MotoCorp, delivering the keynote, mentioned that India contributes to about 11% of global road accidents due to road conditions. He observed that the Indian market is not about high-cost solutions; instead, it appreciates leading, world-standard efficient and sustainable solutions. Creating an ecosystem for long-term sustainable development and innovation is necessary to attract mass adoption of safety devices that fit the customer price tag. OEMs and other stakeholders need to join hands for cost-effective innovations to enable simple and advanced safety technologies that can be widely deployed, Jaura added.

Shinto Joseph, Director – South East Asia operations of LDRA, while delivering a technical presentation, said that when software is loaded onto a vehicle, its entire definition changes. Many of the 2W OEMs share their concerns on this. The 2Ws are more challenging to work on than 4Ws regarding functional safety, as 2Ws are unstable devices and more prone to accidents.  

Thalavai Venkatesan, Head of Sales & Key Account Management, Continental Automotive India, said that currently, there are two safety technologies in vogue for 2Ws - ABS and wheel speed sensors. However, the future is promising with technologies such as short-range radar, telematics, tyre pressure monitoring system, optimised curve braking, multi-function mono camera, advanced radar sensor and a surround-view camera. 

Speaking from the tyre maintenance perspective, Rajeev Singh, Deputy Manager (Technical Service), Maxxis Rubber India, said inflation pressure plays a key role in vehicle safety, but the irony is that more than 80% of users are unaware of the required tyre pressure of their vehicles. The correct profile of the tyre is key, and full contact with the road ensures better traction and braking. Under-inflation will reduce contact area with the road, resulting in poor braking, besides minimising tyre life. Following recommended tyre pressure will help improve fuel economy, he added. 

Assist And Alert

Participating in a panel discussion on “Two-wheelers Key To Bringing Road Fatalities Down by 50% by 2025”, Ramashankar Pandey, Managing Director, Hella India Lighting, expressed concern about the fatalities, revealing that over 400 people do not return home every day as they die in road accidents. Of this, about 190 are 2W riders whose economic stature is low. So, it is not only the loss of life of an individual but loss to family and the country. “As an industry we have failed to convince people on how vehicles can be manoeuvred properly,” he pointed out. 

Making Mobility Safe, Secure
Panel Discussion: Murali Gopalan, Consulting Editor, Mobility Outlook (Moderator, Top Left); Ramashankar Pandey, MD, Hella India Lighting (Top Middle); Shitalkumar Joshi, Head, Ansys Technical for India, ASEAN, and ANZ (Top Right); V Sivaramakrishnan, CTO, TVS Srichakra (Bottom Left), and Sandeep Bharadwaj, CEO, PMI Electro Mobility Solutions (Bottom Right).

Awareness campaigns should move away from the realm of enforcement to assist and alert. It is not either technology or humans, but it should be technology and humans, Pandey said. 

From a 2W rider perspective, Sandeep Bharadwaj, CEO, PMI Electro Mobility Solutions and an avid rider, said that even after having every bit of electronics, none can beat the laws of physics. “Bikes are machines, and we need to know how to control them very well. Most 2Ws involve in accidents at slow speeds,” he said.

Human skull cracks at a force of 2 kg, and thigh bone at 75 kg; this implies that a truck running at 2 kmph carrying 25 tonne can smash a human being, he warned. 

“Enforcement will lead us nowhere. Education is key to making the 2W riders understand the risks of riding without required gears and knowledge of the vehicles they are riding,” he added.

Giving his perspective on safety from the standpoint of tyres and vehicle dynamics, V Sivaramakrishnan, CTO, TVS Srichakra, noted that if a rider does not possess basic necessities, including helmets, no electronic safety system can save him. Therefore, education and enforcement will form a significant part in containing vehicle accidents. 

Catch them young and educate them on the right things for safety. Safety can even be part of the curriculum, he suggested. 

From the technology point of view, Shitalkumar Joshi, Head (Technical), India, ASEAN and ANZ, Ansys, noted that EVs will have another layer of safety in the 2W segment with the requirements of battery safety. National-level awareness programmes can lead to safer roads, and technology can be a parallel driver to it, he said. 

Earlier, as part of its annual property 'Indian Automotive Consumer Canvass (IACC)', Mobility Outlook released a study on “Safety Behaviour & Preferences Among Indian Customers” based on responses from more than 60,000 people from across the country.

Also Read

MoRTH Issues Draft To Streamline All India Tourist Permit

Continental Opens New Campus For Its Technical Center India

Hero MotoCorp Back On Top, Ola Electric Registers Most E2Ws During Diwali Season

Share This Page