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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | Road Safety are we on the right path?
Road Safety are we on the right path?
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Though India accounts for just 2 per cent of automotives globally, it is responsible for more than 11 per cent of road traffic deaths. In 2018 alone, around 149,000 people lost their lives on Indian roads. As a signatory to the 2015 Brasilia declaration, India has committed to reduce the number of road accidents and deaths to half by 2020. Rakesh Rao finds out if we are on the right track to achieve this goal.
Like every year, the Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways will observe National Road Safety Week (NRSW) in 2020 from January 11-17 to create awareness about road safety and make it a social movement. Initiatives like this are important for a country where one person dies every 4 minutes due to road accidents. India has seen more road deaths per year than any other nation since 2006, costing lives at the rate of 130,000 annually. “India accounts for about 2 per cent of motor vehicles globally, yet is responsible for more than 11 per cent of road traffic deaths,” says Anupam Jaiswal, Business Director (Auto – India & ASEAN) – Transportation & Industrial, DuPont.
According to a Ministry of Road Transport and Highways report in 2018, India’s young, productive population, aged 18-45 years, was involved in 70 percent of road accidents. A study conducted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) claims that Indian economy takes a 3 percent hit every year due to road traffic accidents, which is over $58,000 million in terms of value.
A 2018 World Bank report adds, over a period of 24 years from 2014 to 2038, if India could halve the deaths and injuries due to road traffic, its GDP could increase by 7 percent.
Rising road accidents has raised concerned among policy makers who have over the years taken several measures to make road safer and improve vehicle safety. “Proactive policy implementation and consumer awareness have played a key role in making automotive safety systems popular. However, the penetration of these lifesaving technologies differs from country to country. Economically developed countries tend to have a high penetration of these technologies across various passenger and commercial vehicle segments,” opines Atul Kumar, Assistant Manager (Automotive & Transportation Practice) at MarketsandMarkets.
2019: A march towards enhanced safety
In 2019, the auto industry witnessed largest number of safety norms (for active as well as passive safety) being introduced in the country.
From April 2019, fitment of anti-lock braking system (ABS) - an anti-skid braking system that prevents the wheels from locking up during braking - in all the two-wheelers with an engine displacement over 125cc and all cars on sale (including older models) was made mandatory. Similarly, two-wheelers with engines less than or equal to 125cc must have combined braking system (CBS), enabling both front and rear brakes on a single lever function.
To enhance the safety features of a car, the government has made fitment of driver-side airbag mandatory for all cars manufactured from July 1, 2019. Airbags are known to drastically reduce injuries sustained in case of a frontal and side collision. Over-speeding, which accounted for 64 per cent of road deaths in 2018, is the biggest factor for road accidents in India. To discourage over-speeding, the speed warning system is now mandatory for vehicle.
To address occupant safety, the government has initiated Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme (BNVSAP) - proposing a star rating safety performance system and New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) - from October 2019. As per the new crash-test standards, all new cars on sale in India from October 2019 have to undergo rigid testing for full-frontal impact, offset-frontal impact, and side-impact.
On the road to safety
As passenger safety becomes prime focus of automakers and the government agencies, suppliers of auto safety products and solutions are bound to gain. MarketsandMarkets estimates that in 2017, around 20 per cent of the total vehicle accidents in 2017 in India involved passenger cars only. With the passenger car sales market growing at more than 7 per cent, and airbags becoming a standard fitment from October 2019, there is a huge opportunity for the airbag manufacturers and suppliers in the Indian market.
In 2018, around 3.28 million units of passenger cars have been sold in the Indian market in which 2.17 million units were cars, 0.9 million units were SUVs and 0.19 million units were vans. The Indian airbags market is anticipated to register a CAGR of more than 25 per cent in the 2018-2025 period, states MarketsandMarkets report. “As the Indian government is now focusing on increasing the safety in a car, manufacturers of passive safety systems are expected to gain the maximum because of their existing relationship with the Indian OEMs and their huge product portfolio for the passive safety systems market,” informs Atul Kumar.
Besides government policy and legislations, increasing consumer awareness about safety and comfort is contributing to the growth of vehicle safety market in India.
To tap this consumer trend, auto makers, who use safety systems as a differentiator, are incorporating more safety features in their new models. While safety systems in existing models are being upgraded, more sophisticated systems are incorporated in the new models (even in lower-end automobiles). Customers are demanding multiple airbags (head, knee), adjustable seat belts, etc to be added to their car. The usage of embedded electronics to provide safety – for examples seat belt reminders, speed limiting beeps, tyre pressure indicators, lane change warnings, etc - is also increasing.
“In the highly competitive market, passive safety systems are becoming the major differentiator/USP for automobiles. There is an increased awareness of the consumer which is contributing to an increased demand for passive safety systems in India. The new mandatory requirements in homologation, safety standards and regulation from the Government of India are also driving this demand. Clear examples can be seen in the mandate for usage of seatbelts. Customers also prefer vehicles with more airbags and safety features. Additionally, passive safety systems are becoming more affordable which is also leading to a wider implementation of these features, across multiple models,” says Sathyajith TK, Vice President at AXISCADES.
Design for safety
To meet the new crash test requirements and fulfill the other safety system obligations, auto makers will have to start from the drawing board. “With the evolving technologies and the gradual shift towards connected cars, the focus is more on incorporating safety in the early design stage so that safety can be achieved in each phase,” says Anupam Jaiswal.
Body design and materials used to construct the car body also play critical role in safeguarding passengers’ life in case of an accident. Automakers are using a combination of multiple materials to build car body. For example, BIW are made from aluminium to decrease weight, the undercarriage is manufactured from titanium and high-strength steel is used in critical loading points to increase safety.
Sathyajith TK explains, “With the current market trends and increased public awareness, passive safety systems are equally important as active safety systems while designing a car. It has become an absolute requirement in BIW design as the crash safety of structure is a design driving factor. The amount of safety a car can provide to its occupants is a key factor deciding the sell ability of the car. The safety electronic features also act as key differentiators. So an automaker will have to consider passive safety systems right from the early design stage itself to ensure a successful product.”
According to Sathyajith, introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) will also lead to an improvement in body structure, especially revolving around protecting the battery in case of a crash.
Simulation tools are also playing a major role in helping not just the OEMs but also the suppliers in designing and building safer vehicles. “In addition to the traditional advantages of cost and time, simulations help in testing of extreme scenarios (those that are sometimes difficult to envision or mock-up) thereby providing design insights to build safer vehicles. Simulations assist not just in making the hardware systems safe, but also the software systems,” opines Padmesh Mandloi, Lead Technical Account Manager, ANSYS.
Electromagnetic compliance (EMC) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) of electronics systems can be virtually tested through simulations to understand the extent of electromagnetic emissions (which are often the reason for several malfunctions, like loss of signal) and figure out approaches to mitigate them.
Mandloi adds, “Simulations can be used to test a component or a sub-system or an entire system to understand its performance under different conditions. For example, one can perform a system level simulation of an ABS to fine-tune different components, be it the hydraulic/pneumatic actuator or the electromagnetic valve or any other aspect to design it for a certain performance (like braking distance). Simulations can be used to design the cooling channels of a battery pack to avoid its overheating, which might result into a thermal incidence leading to explosion.”
Can we halve deaths?
As per the World Resources Institute, India has the worst safety record in the world. Around 149,000 people lost their lives on Indian roads in 2018 alone. India is a signatory to the 2015 Brasilia declaration, under which it has committed to reduce the number of road accidents and deaths to half by 2020.
Last year saw mandatory incorporation of new safety systems like ABS, airbags, etc. The government is now reportedly planning to make addition of Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) mandatory for all cars by 2022. Experts believe safety requirements and adoptions will grow (regardless of the legislation) in the next few years as vehicles (across sectors) evolve.
“Going forward, it is quite evident that rising consumer awareness, government policy, widespread technology adoption, and with active support from vehicle manufacturers, the vehicular safety environment in the country is set to witness a paradigm shift. And this will prove very advantageous for the end-consumer,” says Anupam Jaiswal of DuPont.
According to Maximize Market Research report, the growing proportion of India middle class, rising disposable income, stringent government regulations, increasing vehicle electrification, migration to BS VI emission standards, boost to the medium and heavy commercial vehicles due to restrictions on truck overloading, etc are some of the key driving forces for the future growth of India automotive safety market.
India ranks at the top with the highest automotive fatalities in the world, accounting for almost 11 per cent. By adopting a series of safety norms in 2019 (the highest ever in a year) and introducing the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019, the number of fatalities are expected to come down. But, to reduce the number of deaths due to road accidents by half in 2020, it will be a herculean task for which all the stakeholders – government agencies, industry (auto OEMs as well as component suppliers) and the society – have to play their role perfectly.
Causes of road accidents
Over-speeding is the biggest reason for road accidents and death in India. Given below are some of the frequent causes of road deaths:
Over-speeding alone was responsible for 64 per cent of road deaths in 2018
Lack of lane discipline (driving on the wrong side)
Use of a mobile phone while driving
Jumping the red light
Rising demand for airbags
Fitment of airbags in automotives is on the rise in India:
2014-15: 30% of vehicle sold in India had airbags Low burning loss of metal.
2017: 60-70% of vehicle sold had airbags Low burning loss of metal.
2020: It is expected to reach to 100% by the end of 2020
Courtesy: Trends Market Research
With the current market trends and increased public awareness, passive safety systems are equally important as active safety systems while designing a car. The amount of safety a car can provide to its occupants is a key factor deciding the sell ability of the car.
Sathyajith TK, Vice President, AXISCADES
In addition to the traditional advantages of cost and time, simulations help in testing of extreme scenarios (those that are sometimes difficult to envision or mock-up) thereby providing design insights to build safer vehicles.
Padmesh Mandloi, Lead Technical Account Manager, ANSYS
As the Indian government is now focusing on increasing the safety in a car, manufacturers of passive safety systems are expected to gain the maximum because of their existing relationship with the Indian OEMs and their huge product portfolio.
Atul Kumar, Assistant Manager (Automotive & Transportation Practice), MarketsandMarkets
National Road Safety Week
United Nations Economic And Social Commission
Automotive And Transportation Practice
Anti Lock Braking System
Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme
Passive Safety Systems
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