Sixth Safety Driven by Technology seminar deliberates on future safety systems
India has the dubious distinction of recording around 1.5 lakh road fatalities, which translates into a road accident-related death every four minutes. The Indian government has been driving various safer mobility-focussed initiatives and vehicle manufacturers have not only adhered to safety stipulations, but also focussed on improving the safety quotient of vehicles through research and new technologies. Auto Tech Review recently conducted the 6th Safety Driven by Technology seminar. Themed ‘Driver Assistance Systems as a Key Enabler for Safer Mobility’ the seminar featured an inaugural session, followed by three panel discussions and six partner presentations and was graced by over 150 delegates from the automotive industry.
The inaugural session was graced by Rajeev Chaba, President & Managing Director, MG Motor India; Ramashankar Pandey, Managing Director, Hella India Lighting; Mahesh Rajoria, Vice President, Society of Automotive Fitness and Environment (SAFE) & Executive Advisor, Maruti Suzuki India Limited; and Anil Srivastava, Principal Consultant & Mission Director, Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage, NITI Aayog.
Rajiv Chaba in his keynote address highlighted how MG Motor has joined hands with the Haryana government to drive safety education among school children in Gurugram. Dwelling on driver distraction as a key source of error, Chaba said ADAS is an important facet towards ensuring safer mobility once it is successfully implemented in mass market products. There is a need to democratise certain features and bring them down from the luxury segment to widely adopted car models, he noted.
The safety seminar stressed the need for robust collaboration among industry stakeholders. Ramashankar Pandey, Managing Director, Hella India Lighting & Conference Chairman, stressed the need for leveraging technology to reduce road fatalities and also deliberated on how this technology can be applied.
Mahesh Rajoria, Vice President, Society of Automotive Fitness and Environment (SAFE) & Executive Advisor, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, shared insights on how skill and attitude test for drivers revealed that around 15 % people do not scan their ORVMs before turning out of a parking bay or while overtaking. Anil Srivastava, Principal Consultant & Mission Director, Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage, NITI Aayog, said said it is critical to put in place a policy framework for road safety at the grassroots level and take it up as a campaign.
VISION ZERO FOCUS
The first panel discussion themed ‘Is there a need to revisit our policies and regulations?’ brought together a diverse panel comprising Prof Dinesh Mohan, Honorary Professor, Transportation Research & Injury Prevention Programme, IIT Delhi; IV Rao, Former Sr MEO Engg; Executive Advisor, MSIL and Director, Maruti Centre for Excellence; Vinay Piparsania, Consulting Director, Counterpoint Research; Dr Madhusudan Joshi, DGM, ICAT; Vaidiraj Katti, Managing Director, iTriangle and Arun Malhotra, Former Managing Director, Nissan Motor India. IV Rao observed that non-compliance of regulations is the primary cause of accidents in India. Prof Dinesh Mohan captured everyone’s attention when he stated that driver training does not reduce accidents and also highlighted that not even a single km of road in India has been designed as per international safety standards.
Vinay Piparsania shared a perspective on how getting a licence should be a privilege and not a right, while calling for an urgent need to manage and engage existing regulations before new ones are introduced. Dr Madhusudan Joshi said road safety education should not be confined to road users alone but also encompass the entire ecosystem. Vaidiraj Katti said there is a need to re-visit and re-structure road safety regulations. Arun Malhotra stated that road safety education should be provided at an early stage and should be a subject in school curriculum.
MEANINGFUL DRIVER ASSISTANCE TECHNOLOGIES FOR MASS MARKET
The second panel discussion that was themed ‘Making Driver Assistance Technologies Meaningful for Mass Market Vehicles’ featured Randeep Singh Khokar, Head – Electricals & Electronics, Tata Motors; Dr Naveen Gautam, Member of the Executive Board (Business Division - Electronics), HELLA & Managing Director, Hella India Automotive; Avinash Chintawar, Managing Director, Bosch Chassis System; Sanjay Dhar, Head of Engineering, Elektrobit; and Ashwath Narayana Kikkeri, Director, Autonomous Driving Practice, KPIT. Moderating the session, Ashim Sharma, Partner & Group Head, Business Performance Improvement Consulting, (Auto, Engineering & Logistics), Nomura Research Institute India Pvt Ltd, threw a perspective about for how long it was possible to rope in a customer to buy vehicle based on mileage rather than pushing for safer vehicles. Randeep Singh Khokar said the affordability for safety features is critical and frugal engineering aspects of companies will play a major role. Dr Naveen Gautam dwelt on how there is a direct disconnect between the ground realities and how the whole ecosystem is trying to address this problem.
Avinash Chintawar reckoned that the awareness for safety technologies is gradually picking up among Indian consumers. Ashwath Narayana Kikkeri said the country instead of waiting for others to take the lead, should make autonomous emergency braking and autonomous high beam controller mandatory in vehicles as this can reduce the accident rate by 50 %, he added.
Sanjay Dhar said the fundamental blocks of ADAS - sensors, software platform, test infrastructure, overall infrastructure need upgradation and involve a considerable amount of costs. The panel unanimously called for technologies like AEB, auto high beam controller, driver drowsiness detection systems as short-term measures to address the high accident issue in the country.
The final panel discussion that was themed ‘Creating a Safety Ecosystem - Making all stakeholders responsible’ comprised Prof Geetam Tiwari, Professor, Transportation Research & Injury Prevention Programme, IIT Delhi ; Avik Chattopadhyay, Co-Founder & Partner, Expereal; Amar Shrivastav, Founder & President, India Road Safety Campaign, IIT Delhi; and KK Gandhi, Convener, Centre for Auto Policy & Research. Moderating the session, Rama Shankar Pandey, Managing Director, Hella India Lighting emphasised the need for a platform, where all stakeholders are collectively allocated responsibilities and work towards improving the road safety situation in India.
Prof Geetam Tiwari stated that road safety has to be understood as a science and it is essential that all stakeholders have a common understanding of this science. Avik Chattopadhyay stated that there is lack of value for human life in India and added that if the society and infrastructure could take care of pedestrians, it will be a huge benefit to drivers. KK Gandhi said the technology is only a facilitator and it will not be as beneficial if there is no ecosystem to support it. Amar Shrivastav said there is a lack of initiative among citizens to actively participate in road safety initiatives something that needs to be addressed at the grassroots level.
The panel felt that warning signs on stretches identified as accident zones help reduce accidents and such measures lead to self-impose caution that could be successful in reducing accidents. It was widely agreed that accident data has a critical role to play in evaluation and optimisation of roads and vehicles. The panel unanimously called for the creation of a database that would comprehensively cover accidents across the country and be made available widely for companies and stakeholders to optimise solutions.
Technology companies such as Hella India Automotive, Bosch Chassis Systems, IPG Automotive GmbH, ARAI, WABCO India and Vector Informatik GmbH delivered presentations that demonstrated and elaborated on technologies that could improve road safety in India. Dr Naveen Gautam stated that a majority of the accidents globally have been attributed to road user behaviour, with figures standing above 50 %. In India, road user behaviour along with speeding, connectivity, use of mobile devices while driving were identified as contributing factors. Avinash Chintawar highlighted that there was a 30 % reduction in road fatalities in Germany after the introduction of ESP and ABS and added that another 15 % reduction was possible with the application of AEB. The remaining 55 % can be reduced by up to 37 %, if automation level on vehicles is increased, he noted.
Andre Fischbeck, Account Manager, IPG Automotive GmbH stated that with a drop in vehicle sales numbers in India there are also certain challenges to the development of ADAS systems for the country. The variety of real-world scenarios is ever-increasing and requires enormous testing efforts, and systems integrity should not be compromised under any scenario, he noted. Fischbeck stated that there is a need to introduce sensor fusion to drive Level 2 automation.
Manish Karle, General Manager, ARAI revealed how a sensor that was tuned for European standards was tested in Pune city conditions, with multiple warnings being emitted due to the variation in conditions from Europe, for which the algorithms were based.
Sachin Deshmukh, General Manager, Application Engineering, WABCO India said fleet owners are increasingly becoming tech-savvy, asking for more technologies to optimise safety.
Shripad Kanni, Local Product Line Manager, Vector Informatik GmbH, said OEMs and Tier Is are working closely with each other from a function safety point of view to derive technical safety concepts and implement algorithms that will take application to work as per OEM requirement. In the case of ADAS, software capabilities can reduce the product development cycle across LiDAR, Radar, Camera and fusion systems to make them more suited for Indian duty cycles using various data flow involved, he noted.
The 6th Safety Driven by Technology seminar was organised in association with Hella India Lighting – the day-long seminar was graced by ARAI and ICAT as Support Partners, ATS as Co-Partner and World Auto Forum as Global Auto Think Tank Partner.