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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | Fasten your seltbelt for better safety
Fasten your seltbelt for better safety
Passive safety system: A must to mitigate crash damage
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Road safety is gaining importance in India, with increased awareness among the end users, driven by safety-related regulations. In the highly competitive market, passive safety systems are becoming the major differentiator for automobiles, says Rakesh Rao.
India has seen more road deaths per year than any other nation since 2006, costing lives at the rate of 230,000 annually. According to a study conducted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Indian economy takes a 3 percent hit every year due to road traffic accidents, which is over $ 58,000 million in terms of value, observes Ashok Khondge, Principal Engineer, ANSYS Customer Excellence, ANSYS Inc.
Understanding the gravity of the situation, Government of India has been taking numerous steps to encourage original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to equip their vehicles will latest safety features. This is driving not just the consumer confidence, but also of safety equipment suppliers.
Besides, in the highly competitive market, passive safety systems (such as airbags, seatbelts, etc that play a role in limiting the injuries caused in the event of an accident) 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,” opines Sathyajith TK, Vice President at AXISCADES, which performs advanced virtual simulations on crash, NVH and other safety parameters.
AXISCADES supports design, virtual validation and deployment of passive safety systems across a wide variety of automobiles.
Road safety is undergoing a transformation in India. The implementations of safety regulations and stringent crash test norms as well as increasing safety awareness among the end users are driving this change. The country is witnessing an increase in the take up rate of safety features in vehicles. “India is in a major transformation phase where government is taking steps for the safety of every person. Seat belt plays a major role in safeguarding life for drivers as well as passengers. Automotive seatbelt market in India is very competitive, but the growth potential is very high as the safety norms will be stringent in future. It (new safety norm) will ensure more safety features in the vehicle and increase prospects for seat belt manufacturing companies,” observes Nihir Goradia, Partner, Goradia Industries - a manufacturer of seat belt webbing to automotive seat belts who also exports to Middle East, USA and Australia.
According to Sukhdeep Sandhu, Head – Passive Safety & Sensorics Business Unit, Continental India, road safety is gaining importance in India, with increased awareness among the end users, driven by safety-related policies. “The airbag industry in India is growing steadily, fueled by legislation and consumer preferences,” he adds.
With Government rolling out a host of new safety norms in 2019, automotive safety equipment (active as well as passive) is expected to witness an upswing. “The Indian government has been focusing on increasing the safety of vehicles in the past couple of years. The move to make ABS mandatory for 2-wheelers of 125cc and above has had a positive impact on safety. From April 2020, airbags will be mandatory for passenger vehicles, which will increase demand for the product. Further such policies will drive the trend for adoption of more safety products in the vehicle, eventually driving the take up rate of such products,” says Sandhu.
Rise in demand for safety equipment is leading to localisation of manufacturing, which in turn is lowering the manufacturing cost of these systems and also impacting the overall vehicle cost. Take the example of Continental which added a new assembly line to manufacture airbag control units (ACUs) in Bangalore in January 2019. “Continental established the first line for airbag control units in 2016 at the Central Electronics Plant in Bengaluru, long before the legislation came into effect. This line is already at full capacity, leading to its expansion in 2019 to meet the increasing demand, driven by legislations. Localisation has been at the core of our India strategy, where we follow what we call ‘in the market, for the market’. The Indian automotive market has high potential, and the country also has a resource pool of high-quality engineering talent. We have wide range of products that are localised in India such as airbag control units, speed sensors, and power steering ECUs,” informs Sukhdeep Sandhu.
As safety features become an integral part of vehicles, carmakers need to give due consideration to safety aspects at design stage itself while developing a new model or a platform. Sathyajith 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.”
Automakers are also using simulation tools to make their vehicles safer. Simulation tools allow designers to assess the structural strength (bending strength, torsional strength, durability and fatigue failure) of their vehicle body design under conditions such as roll-over of vehicle, dynamic loading, impact loading and loads due to uneven road conditions. This ensures that the design is safer from the passive safety point of view. “Simulations tools are used to perform virtual crash tests for frontal impact, side impact, rear end impact, pedestrian strike etc. These virtual crash tests help designer to understand various aspects such as design of the ‘crumple zone’, whether enough energy is absorbed to protect the occupant, deformation of occupant space and decelerations felt by occupant,” observes Ashok Khondge of ANSYS - the world’s largest independent computer aided engineering (CAE) software company.
He adds, “Passive safety ensures built-in safety for occupants. It helps the occupants (driver & passengers) protected within car from various crash forces and decelerations causing fatal impact. Simulation tools can help car makers to perform virtual tests for various conditions and using various materials to design vehicle body structure that can withstand torsion and bending loads in the event of crash.”
Passive safety systems are being used as a differentiator, and each new model coming out is having more of these systems incorporated. There is a definite increasing trend in the usage of passive safety systems. “More sophistication is being added into existing systems, and even lower-end automobiles are coming up with more and more of these systems installed. Multiple airbags (head, knee), adjustable seat belts etc are clear examples. Another trend we see is the usage of embedded electronics to provide passive safety; examples being seat belt reminders, speed limiting beeps, tire pressure indicators, lane change warnings etc,” opines Sathyajith of AXISCADES, which develops multiple solutions in embedded electronics sphere for providing passive safety for the occupants.
With electric vehicles being the next in-thing, safety requirements also needs to be geared up. Sathyajith says, “Introduction of EVs will also lead to an improvement in body structure, especially revolving around protecting the battery in case of a crash. The worldwide trend of autonomous driving is also shaping the passive safety system trends in terms of usage of radars and cameras with high level of inbuilt computing power to provide maximum safety to the occupants of an automobile.”
Passive Safety Systems
Airbag Control Units
Power Steering Ecus
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