As per a recent study conducted by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Indian roads account for a human life every four minutes. Last year alone, approximately 142,000 people lost their lives due to accidents on Indian roads – making the country the largest contributor to road deaths across the world. Alarmingly, in the decade between 2003 and 2013, road accidents in India grew 20 %, even as the global rate dropped by 15 %.
Numerous active and passive safety measures have been introduced by the automotive industry from time to time to curb the menace of accidents. One such technology intervention is the Electronic Stability Program (ESP). Leading global supplier of technology and services, Bosch, has been at the forefront of offering advanced safety and driving assistance technologies.
Recently, the company conducted an India-specific research, which suggests that ESP could prevent up to 70 % of all skidding accidents involving passenger cars on highways. Potentially, the use of ESP could save up to 10,000 lives annually, found the preliminary report, which was recently released at a select media briefing at the company headquarters in Bangalore.
Last year, the country accounted for nearly three per cent more fatalities than 2013 of which around a third of the victims were in the age bracket of 15-25 years, said Klaus Maeder, Executive Vice President, Active Safety Business, Chassis Systems Control, Robert Bosch GmbH. "Such a high rate of causality occurring due to road accidents draws attention to the need for advanced safety and driver assistance systems in India," he said.
Meanwhile, the complete report of the Bosch Accident Research (AR) is likely to be made public in a few months. This scientific research on accidents is being done through a consortium that has Daimler, Nissan, Renault, Toyota, Hyundai, Honda and JPR as the other partners.
ACTIVE SAFETY SYSTEMS PENETRATION
The first ESP was launched globally in 1995 by Bosch, and since then ESP is claimed to have prevented 190,000 accidents and saved more than 6,000 lives. As per the Bosch study, of the approximate 140,000 fatalities in India annually, accidents arising due to loss of control estimate for nearly 12 %.
The current penetration of ESP in India is at about 4-5 %, indicating the potential for growth in the application of this active safety measure. The other important active safety system – Antilock Braking System (ABS) – has reached a penetration level of 40 % in India. In comparison, China has an ABS installation rate of 81 % and ESP of 32 %. Likewise, Thailand and Malaysia too have higher penetration of ABS and ESP compared to India. Worldwide, ABS and ESP installation rates stood at 87 % and 59 % respectively in 2014. At its 62nd annual media briefing in May this year, Bosch had claimed that increased automation can address 37 % of today's accidents.
"Today's customer insists on mitigation of injury and risk, vehicle damage and assigns paramount importance to personal safety. ADAS coupled with accident avoidance technologies, such as automated emergency braking, and driver monitoring systems can best address such requirements of the customer," said Dr Hans-Peter Hübner, Executive Vice President, Driver Assistance Business Unit, Chassis Systems Control, Robert Bosch GmbH.
Highlighting the Indian scenario, Kartikeya Joshi, Senior General Manager, Sales and Marketing, Bosch Chassis Systems India Limited said the acceptance of technologies like ABS and airbags is rapidly growing for OEMs as well as end customers in the country. "Our research analysis clearly underscores the significant benefits that advanced vehicle safety systems such as ESP can achieve," he iterated.
The vehicular safety business for Bosch in India has registered a strong double-digit growth over the past five years since its establishment in 2009. The plant, claimed to be India's first and only state-of-the-art ABS/ESP manufacturing facility, currently produces close to one million active safety systems every year. Further regulatory push from the Indian authorities, and concurrent education of consumers about the benefits of having safety systems in their vehicles, would undoubtedly push the safety envelope in the country in the coming years.
Text: Deepangshu Dev Sarmah