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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | Passive safety system: A must to mitigate crash damage
Passive safety system: A must to mitigate crash damage
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With the Government of India mandating the use of airbags and seatbelt by the end of 2019 in the passenger car segment, there is a huge opportunity for the passive safety equipment suppliers in the country, says Atul Kumar.
Passenger safety occupies a prime spot in the automobile sector today. Stakeholders across the automobile value chain acknowledge the importance of passenger/occupant safety and are constantly upgrading their offerings to provide fail-safe safety technologies that will protect passengers and pedestrians. 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.
The increase in road accidents is a major concern for automobile manufacturers and governments. According to NHTSA, the total number of people died in motor vehicle crashes in the US in 2017 was 37,133. These statistics plainly illustrate the often-underestimated dangers inherent in driving a car. While these numbers are staggeringly high, they are fortunately in decline. Much of this decline in the frequency of vehicular crashes can be attributed to the widespread adoption of automotive safety systems, such as seatbelts and airbags.
Types of safety products
Traditionally automobile safety systems can be classified in to two segments, namely active safety systems and passive safety systems.
Active safety systems, as the term suggests, play a preventive role in mitigating crashes and accidents by providing warning or by providing the driver with additional assistance in steering/controlling the vehicle. Head-up display (HUD), Anti-lock braking systems (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), lane departure warning system (LDWS), adaptive cruise control (ACC), driver monitoring system (DMS), blind spot detection (BSD), and night vision system (NVS) are common active safety systems.
Passive safety systems play a role in limiting/containing the damage/injuries caused to driver, passengers and pedestrians in the event of a crash/accident. Airbags, seatbelts, whiplash protection system are some common passive safety systems deployed in vehicles these days.
Given below are major technologies in passive safety system:
Airbags (AB): Automotive airbags consist of flexible fabric bag or a cushion designed to inflate rapidly during a collision. Its function is to cushion its occupants during a crash when they hit objects inside such as the steering wheel or a window. Modern vehicles comprise multiple airbag modules in various side and frontal locations of the passenger seating positions, which offer maximum protection during collision.
Seat belt (SB): Seat belts are safety belts installed on the passenger seat of a vehicle to secure the occupant against harmful movements that may be caused by collision, jerk, or sudden braking.
Occupant sensing systems (OSS): It is a system of sensors that detect who is sitting in the passenger seat. Occupant sensing systems use sophisticated technology to identify whether an adult or a child is in the seat and eliminate the need for an on/off switch for airbags in most cases. The sensor assembly is installed at the bottom cushion of the passenger seat and it enables the passenger’s airbag, based on the classification of the occupant.
Whiplash protection (WHIPS): In a WHIPS-equipped seat, the entire backrest is designed to protect the occupant’s neck in case of rear impact. WHIPS utilises a specially designed hinge-mount that attaches the back rest to the seat’s bottom, which has a pre-determined rate of rearward movement in the event of certain types of rear impacts. The seatback also has a series of springs that allow the cushion to move slightly backward on impact, thereby cradling the body within the seat. This, combined with high-mounted head restraints, limits the “whipping” motion of the head that often occurs during a rear-end impact.
Child safety systems (CSS): Child safety systems are specifically designed seats that protect children from injury or death during collisions. Generally, these seats are installed based on end-user requirements.
Pedestrian safety system (PSS): This system prevents vehicles from colliding with pedestrians by sensing the situation and provides guidance to make decision. In most of the advanced vehicles, this system automatically decreases vehicle speed to avoid collision with pedestrians.
Airbags can be classified into frontal, knee, and side & curtain airbags. Seatbelts can be classified into 2-point seatbelts and 3-point seatbelts. These passive safety systems are used to protect drivers and passengers from injuries in the event of an accident.
The demand for automotive airbags & seatbelts is growing at a significant pace, especially in emerging countries such as India and China. This growth in demand can be attributed to the improving road safety standards, supporting legislation, and increasing consumer awareness.
Asia Pacific is estimated to be the largest market for automotive airbags & seatbelts during the forecast period. The Asia Pacific market is principally driven by the increasing demand for a safe, efficient, and convenient driving experience. The increase in government regulations pertaining to vehicle safety would also drive market growth in the region.
The rapidly increasing vehicle population in China and India has increased the risk of road fatalities. Several countries in Europe and North America have introduced regulations that mandate the incorporation of airbags & seatbelts in passenger cars as well as commercial vehicles. For instance, in 1998, in the US, the use of airbags was made mandatory in all cars and light commercial vehicles. The law also specified that airbags should be fitted in both sides of the front seat (driver airbags as well as front passenger airbags). Also, in 2006, the European Union mandated the use of seatbelts. In 2012, they mandated the use of airbags (frontal airbags, head-protecting airbags, and side airbags).
Asia Pacific is the leading market for airbags and seatbelts by volume as well as value, followed by North America and Europe. Growth in the Asia Pacific market is propelled by the increasing production and sales of vehicles and the implementation of stringent safety regulations in the region to reduce road fatalities.
The government of India has also mandated the use of airbags and seatbelt by the end of 2019 in the passenger car segment. Countries in North America mandated airbags & seatbelts much earlier. In 1998, the use of airbags was made mandatory in all cars and light commercial vehicles in the US. In 1976, Canada mandated the use of seatbelts.
In 2012, the European Union mandated the use of airbags (frontal airbags, head-protecting airbags, and side airbags). The market in these regions is also driven by government mandates as well as the increasing installation rate of airbags in vehicles.
India passive safety systems market
The Indian government also mandated the implementation of airbags in a passenger car by October 1, 2019 and thus, it is expected that the Indian airbags market will register a CAGR of more than 25 per cent in the 2018-2025 period. 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.
As per MarketsandMarkets estimates, in 2017, around 20 per cent of the total vehicle accidents in India involved passenger cars only and with the passenger car sales market growing at more than 7 per cent, and airbags set to become a standard fitment from October 2019, there is a huge opportunity for the airbags manufacturers and suppliers in the Indian market.
Autoliv, Denso, Takata Corporation, ZF India, Joyson Safety Systems, Hyundai Mobis, Robert Bosch and Toyoda Gosei are some of the leading manufacturers and providers of passive safety systems in the Indian marker. As the Indian government is now focusing on increasing the safety in a car, these companies are expected to gain the maximum because of their existing relationship with the Indian OEMs and because of their huge product portfolio on the passive safety systems market.
About the author:
Atul Kumar is the Assistant Manager (Automotive & Transportation Practice) at MarketsandMarkets - a global market research and consulting firm that publishes strategic analysis reports.
Passive Safety System
Passenger Car Segment
Commercial Vehicle Segments
Active Safety Systems
Anti Lock Braking Systems
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Electronic Stability Control
Adaptive Cruise Control
Occupant Sensing Systems
Child Safety Systems
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