Auto Tech Review’s seventh edition of the Safety Seminar was held virtually with a focus on five key areas – Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), Active Safety Technologies, Passive Safety Technologies, New Age Software & Hardware for Safer Mobility and Safety Standards & Regulations.
There is an increasing focus across the automotive industry on vehicle safety – a topic that needs urgent attention in the Indian context given the alarming road traffic deaths that occur across the country. Given this backdrop, Auto Tech Review recently conducted the Safety Driven by Technology virtual seminar that deliberated on the challenges, opportunities as well as the roadmap for vehicle safety. Themed “Vision Zero – The Role of Technology”, the day-long virtual seminar focussed several key areas - Active and Passive Safety, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, New Age Hardware & Software as well as safety standards and regulations.
The virtual seminar kicked off with the inaugural session that was graced by eminent personalities such as Ramashankar Pandey, MD, Hella India Lighting; Nikunj Sanghvi, President, ASDC and PK Banerjee, Executive Director, SIAM. Earlier, Deepangshu Dev Sarmah, Editor-in-Chief, Auto Tech Review delivered the welcome address. The inaugural session dwelt on how active safety systems can be effectively deployed along with traditional passive safety systems. Rama Shankar Pandey, Managing Director, Hella India Lighting and Conference Chairman, said it is imperative for all industry stakeholders to come together and treat road safety as a high priority area and also called on the need for building more awareness about road safety.
The adoption of automotive safety systems has increased rapidly over the last two decades with vehicles undergoing a lot of structural design changes with innovations being witnessed with use of lighter, yet robust materials aimed at improving vehicle safety. Road safety is a serious talking point area in India considering the fact that the country has the dubious distinction of recording around 1.5 lakh road fatalities, which translates into a road accident-related death every four minutes. In fact, around 90 % of road accident-related fatalities in India occur due to driver error, which only accentuates a strong need to bring about disciplined driving on Indian roads – one that helps mitigate, if not completely weed out road fatalities. Of course, in recent years various safer mobility-focussed initiatives have been undertaken by the government, which in turn, has led to vehicle manufacturers putting more focus on improving the safety quotient of vehicles with futuristic technologies.
The inaugural session was followed by a panel discussion that featured Deepak Sawkar, Senior Vice President, Engineering Research Design & Development, Maruti Suzuki India; Pamela Tikku, Chief Business Officer, ICAT; Chulang Parera, CIO, DICV; Amit Agarwal, Director – Technical, Ansys – India, ASEAN & ANZ; Oliver Klenke, Director, Automated Driving Software, Hella Aglaia Mobile Vision GmbH and Avik Chattopadhayay, Co-Founder, Expereal. The panel discussion deliberated on how laying a safety technology roadmap to bring down road fatalities in India, and was followed by a safety workshop that focussed on various safety-related technologies. All the panellists focussed on how new safety features and their mandatory addition to even the most affordable vehicles has considerably brought more safety to motorists. Companies like Matlab, Gears and Siemens, they are doing exceptionally good by bringing independent safety technologies together and making them behave the way they should be here. Everything from quick reacting LEDs, sharper cameras for rear view monitoring, blind spot assist, lane change assist, parking assist, driver alertness, and a plethora of more are being adapted and used in more mainstream cars than just the luxury segment.
More attention is now being paid to simulation testing and ADAS systems to develop smarter vehicles globally. Although the panel discusses that these advanced ADAS systems will take some years to be available on Indian vehicle ecosystems, but simulation testing is something which has advanced exponentially in the Indian environment. Testing becomes more efficient and less complicated through simulation processes rather than physical testing. Everybody does agree that more validation testing is further required to fool proof products.
The discussion also identifies commercial vehicles as one of the priorities at the receiving end of new safety technologies. Automatic braking, driver comfort and attention monitors, camera assist systems and more such tech should be made available for long distance haulers. This will again be aided by simulation testing, at least for highway scenarios. Electronics have the advantage of acting quicker than driver perception hence increasing safety for all road users. But all upgrades must happen across all segments to increase efficiency of all systems. There is a collective outcry from experts and the industry for improving mobility infrastructure and road signs to offer accurate datum points for all safety systems being developed for India.
The safety workshop featured Raghavendra Bhat, Technical Manager, ANSYS, Inc; Christian Schmidt, Head of Innovation Lighting – Headlamp & Rearlamp, Hella GmbH; Dr Manaswini Rath, VP & Global Head – Autonomous Driving, KPIT and Dr Ajinkya Bhave, Director & Country Head – India, Siemens Engineering Services.
The closing remarks were delivered by Seminar Chairman Ramashankar Pandey.