Two wheelers account for 26% of total road crash deaths in the country. With the Government mandating adoption of antilock braking systems (ABS) in motorcycle, the ride is expected to be safer and smooth.
India has a poor record in road safety when it comes to driving. According to the government statistics, one serious road accident occurs every minute in the country and 16 die on Indian roads every hour.
As a part of its efforts to bring down the traffic accident figures, in March 2016, the Government of India announced that antilock braking systems (ABS) to be introduced as a standard equipment in the country starting from 2018. “Technologies, such as the motorcycle ABS, are key enablers that could help improve the quality of life. Motorcycle ABS has the potential to significantly reduce accidents pertaining to two-wheeler related fatalities,” said Sandeep N, head of Bosch’s Two-Wheelers & Powersports Business Unit in India, commenting on this announcement.
According to a report filed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway Department, in 2012 approximately 36,000 people died in India while riding a two-wheeler. This accounts for nearly 26% of the total traffic accidents. The mandatory fitment of motorcycle ABS means a significant step forward along the way to save lives in India. An estimation from Bosch’s accident research study suggests that every third accident involving a two-wheeler can be avoided through the implementation of motorcycle ABS. Going beyond, the equipment can also reduce the collision speed of every fifth accident, thus helping to reduce the severity of injuries sustained.
The government’s draft notification mandates all new two wheeler models (125 cc and above) manufactured from April 2017 and all existing two wheeler models manufactured on or after April 2018 be fitted with anti-lock braking systems. Jaidev Venkataraman, Head – Engineering, Vehicle Dynamics, Continental Automotive India, says, “With one of the world’s highest number of road accidents and fatalities, India has to introduce the relevant technologies, implement regulation and ensure enforcement to reverse the situation. In terms of technology, active safety systems like ABS will play an important role. The Government’s commitment towards rolling out safety legislation as well as the consumers’ awareness about the available technologies will drive the uptake of safety technologies in the market.”
According to Allied Market Research, ABS is an automobile safety system consisting of electronic control unit (ECU), sensors, and a hydraulic unit. Typically, there are speed sensors equipped on the wheels used to measure acceleration and deceleration of the wheels. ECU is used to monitor the data collected from the wheel sensors and transfer information to the hydraulic unit if in case any tyre loses traction from the ground. Hydraulic unit consists of the valves and pumps used to release brake fluid at a desired pressure whenever instructed by the ECU.
Motorcycle ABS gaining traction
Globally, ABS is becoming a de-facto standard for vehicle safety. In the European Union, motorcycle ABS has been mandated for all new vehicle types from the beginning of 2016. Similar legislation will also be applicable in Japan from 2018 and in Taiwan from 2019. In Brazil, it is set to apply to two-wheelers with an engine displacement less than or equal to 300 cc ramping up between 2016 and 2019. ABS for two-wheelers is also on the political agenda in the US and Australia.
In India, riding concerns primarily revolve around the country’s infrastructure concerns and unpredictable riding conditions. It has been observed that riders tend to not fully apply the brakes even in emergency situations, which contributes to higher number of crashes. ABS, a system that helps prevent the wheels of the vehicle from locking, can avoid the accident or reduce collision speed significantly.
Even in wet or icy conditions, when the vehicle has less traction, ABS helps in preventing the vehicle from sliding and crashing as well as maintaining traction and allowing the rider to steer out of the way of obstacles. By making ABS compulsory for two-wheelers (with an engine displacement over 125 cc), the Indian government aims at improving riding safety. For two-wheelers with an engine displacement less than or equal to 125 cc, producers have the choice of installing either ABS or the combined brake system (CBS) in order to meet the mandate. While ABS helps the rider to maintain stability while applying brakes, the CBS distributes the pressure applied on the rear wheel to the front wheel.
Bosch believes that the legislation in India has the potential to influence other emerging markets, such as Indonesia and Thailand, where small two-wheelers also count as the most important means of transportation.
Manufacturers shoring up supplies
The demand for ABS is likely to be stratospheric in India, with its fitment becoming mandatory across commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles (cars, utility vehicles and vans) and two-wheelers. This has opened up a huge potential market for not just home-grown majors like Brakes India, but also for global suppliers like Bosch and Continental.
In order to meet the growing requirements of ABS, many Indian manufacturers are looking at localisation, through their global partners.
With growth in demand for ABS from two-wheeler manufacturers, the technology providers are all geared up. For example, Bosch has developed a new smaller generation of its motorcycle ABS, ABS10, comprising a one-channel and a two-channel solution. In the next five years, Bosch is expecting significant growth in the market for two-wheeler safety systems, with emerging markets being the major growth drivers. In fact, Bosch, according to reports, has plans to manufacture ABS for two-wheelers from its Chakan plant, in Maharashtra.
Global majors are also developing technologies to make ABS system lighter and more suitable for motorcycles. “To improve the safety of motorcycles, Continental offers a one-channel ABS for smaller motorcycles and scooters. Based on proven ABS technology for passenger cars, it was developed especially for cost-sensitive markets such as Asia, where two-wheelers are equipped only with a hydraulic brake on the front wheel. The one-channel ABS is an addition to Continental’s portfolio of motorcycle systems currently in series production: Motorcycle integral brake systems and motorcycle ABS (2-Channel ABS). With a box volume of significantly less than 300 cubic centimetres and weighing roughly 420 gm, the motorcycle ABS is very light and can be easily applied to suit the widest range of motorcycle and motor scooter models,” informs Venkataraman.
Riding high on safety
Increased usage in two-wheelers and the development of advanced braking systems are expected to boost the market growth of ABS in India. On the other side, high safety standard ratings and maintenance cost are the potential hurdles on the path of ABS drive.
The government’s safety legislation and the consumers’ awareness about the available technologies will drive the uptake of safety technologies in the country, making India an emerging mega-market for ABS. Moreover, rise in the adoption of ABS technology is likely to bring down costs gradually.
“Safety systems should not be viewed as the premium features that come with top end models. Equipping the vehicles in India with safety technologies will certainly have a cost implication in the initial stages. But if it becomes a norm rather than an exception, safety installations will increase and gradually this will bring prices down. This is how developed economies evolved over the decades in vehicle safety systems,” explains Venkataraman.
According to ratings agency ICRA, ABS market could turn out to be a humungous Rs 6,500 crore opportunity for suppliers by FY2019. The current ABS penetration in the PV segment is 30%, while in the two-wheeler segment it is less than 5%. With India becoming the largest two-wheeler market in the world surpassing China, with sales of 17.7 million units in 2016, the country could prove to be a gold mine for technology suppliers.
If it (ABS) becomes a norm rather than an exception, safety installations will increase and gradually this will bring prices down. This is how developed economies evolved over the decades in vehicle safety systems.”
- Jaidev Venkataraman, Head – Engineering, Vehicle Dynamics, Continental Automotive India
Affordable bikes equipped with ABS
Given below are a list of affordable motorcycles in India equipped with ABS:
• Bajaj Dominar 400: It is offered with a dual-channel ABS but only as an option and not standard fitment
• Bajaj Pulsar RS 200: It gets a single channel ABS system (only for the front wheel) which is offered as standard
• KTM 390 Duke: It was also the first performance entry level naked motorcycle which was equipped with dual channel ABS as standard
• TVS Apache RTR 200: It gets a dual-channel ABS as standard
• TVS Apache RTR 180: It was the first most affordable motorcycle which was launched with ABS in the country
Source: Newpaper reports