Road safety is one topic that triggers a never-ending discussion in India and it is not difficult to understand why. For a country that wittingly or unwittingly earned a dubious reputation for the recording one of the world’s largest road traffic deaths, the area of road safety is of prime focus in recent years with the government according high priority to the same by passing the New Motor Vehicle Act. But has this new legislation been to achieve the desired objective of driving some degree of driving discipline across the country? Of course, it is too early to draw a conclusion, but there are reservations among the people that there must be a drastic improvement in driving habits of vehicle users in India. It may be pointed out that India registers around 1.5 lakh road fatalities, which translates into a road accident-related death every four minutes across the country. Such alarming statistics certainly call for urgent interventions from all quarters and in this regard the government appears to be showing a great deal of ‘intent’. However, the onus of mitigating road fatalities does not end on the government’s shoulders alone – all other stakeholders, including OEMs must come forward to do their bit.
The Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) technology is seen as one technology that can substantially reduce road accidents and this is where automotive OEMs have a key role to play in working closely with technology partners and integrate ADAS features in their vehicles. Some ADAS features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning System, Emergency Braking Systems and Parking Assist have gained popularity globally. These ADAS features are available in the Indian market, but are largely straitjacketed to the premium car segment.
According to Bindu Shantha Philip, GM, Automated Driving, Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions, there is a strong need to analyse the driving habits to suss out if the ADAS technology can be widely deployed across the country. “All industry stakeholders would have to analyse whether ADAS will ease driver stress or pan out to be a nuisance. In the Indian context it is important to closely study our driving behaviour and patterns and what kind of objects typically can crop on our roads,” she said.
Philip elaborated on the importance of standardisation of road features for deployment of ADAS in India. “There is lot of adjusted chaos on India roads and we need to figure out how we can standardise road features. Speed humps as well as barriers suddenly pop up in the middle of highways and even lane markings are not visible at times,” she opined.
The senior Robert Bosch official felt that the biggest challenges towards ADAS adoption will be the number of use cases in India. “The country has a variety of vehicle types and driving behaviour of each of them is different. Irrespective of how many sensors you are using, it is important to fathom how the system will respond to different use cases. The algorithms will only get more complex when you use more number of use cases,” she explained.
She said the ADAS adoption in India would require a wholehearted effort from the automotive industry. “The entire ecosystem has to come together to make ADAS work in India. It is important to ensure existing software, algorithms and sensors are made available so that certain degree of tweaking of all these can be carried for it so that it can address the diverse challenges of the Indian market.”
Philip said the ADAS has opened up a lot of different working models. “OEMs, Tier I suppliers and thirty party technology partners would have to resort to aggressive collaboration for ADAS to happen in India. The whole value chain has to build things up from scratch and a way forward would be to see OEMs, Tier I suppliers and thirty party technology partners study or evaluate ADAS technology together. This is a journey that to be taken together and it is not one section of the auto industry who can take the onus of ADAS implementation in India,” she observed.
The ADAS implementation in the Indian market is replete with challenges and no one is denying this fact, but the fact remains that a higher level of collaboration between OEMs, Tier I suppliers and thirty party technology partners is a must-have to tide over the prevailing implementation challenges for ADAS in India.