The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex national body representing the Indian automobile sector, in collaboration with the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) and Germany-based VDA (Verband der Automobilindustrie), hosted a conference on Safer & Sustainable Road Transportation in New Delhi today.
The event assumes importance in the light of India, which has one of the worst road accident statistics in the world, taking speedy steps to introduce new technologies and legislation aimed at reducing vehicle and road accidents. The effort will have come not a moment too soon. As per the latest official data, in 2017, a total of 464,910 road accidents were reported in the country, claiming 147,913 lives and causing injuries to 470,975 persons, which translates into 405 deaths and 1,290 injuries each day from 1,274 accidents. This also means 16 killed and another 53 injured every hour on Indian roads.
In his opening remarks, Vishnu Mathur, director general, SIAM said that the Indian automotive sector has made great strides in terms of providing safety and Indian two-wheeler industry will further enhance its safety features.
Marius Ochel, head of Indo-German Association Partnership Program VDA, Germany said he strongly supports SIAM and ACMA’s initiative on safer and sustainable road transportation, which is key to development of the sector.
Vishwajit Sahay, Joint Secretary, Department of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Heavy Industry & Public Enterprises, government of India, stated that the forum must focus on discussing and working out issues related to safety and sustainability of the sector, which is important as it will create a firm ground for the future of automotive industry in India. “There are many areas where we seek to closely work in coordination with Germany like electric mobility, connected vehicles and traffic management, amongst others,” said Sahay.
Stefan Schlarp, First Secretary, Head of Section Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, New Delhi pointed out that with India being a fast growing automotive market, it is imperative to implement modern safety systems. “Traffic control management is an important aspect. Our researchers are contributing significantly in minimising accidents,” explained Schlarp.
Abhay Damle: "“By April 2019, two-wheelers will stand out for having the best quality standards in the world."
Real-time accident database, scrappage policy soon
Representing the government of India, Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, stated that safety is one of the most important areas for the government. “By April 2019, two-wheelers will stand out for having the best quality standards in the world. We are also working on collecting GPS-based data, which will be a real-time accident database,” he explained. He also informed that the Indian government is working on a scrappage policy for End-of-Life Vehicles with the help of SIAM and would soon complete consultation with the states in this regard.
“This will give a big boost to the industry. There are immediate challenges on safety in regards to zero emission and electric vehicles and there is lot of scope for improvement in commercial vehicles to reduce fuel consumption,” he pointed out. He also suggested that e-rickshaws in Delhi could have adaptable auto-sensors.
Deepak Sawkar, senior vice-president, Maruti Suzuki & co-chairman, SIAM CMVR & Safety Group who spoke at the session on safety, remarked that India is a unique country with heterogeneous transportation facilities and called for solutions.
In her presentation, Prof Dr Ing Claudia Langowsky, Head of VDA, FAT (The Research Association of Automotive Technology) gave an in-depth analysis and overview while emphasising on the need of research groups as well as work groups.
Similarly, Mr Henrik Liers, managing director, VuFo GmbH, while deliberating on Accident Research/GIDAS (German In-Depth Accident Study) highlighted issues related to safer, cleaner and sustainable transportation solutions for automobiles, pedestrians and bicyclists.
Heiko Bürkle of Mercedes-Benz, Germany spoke on optimisation of car concepts (based on the German in-depth accident study, GIDAS) and how GIDAS is being used to ensure safety measures in vehicles through an integral safety approach and for making roads safer for everyone.
Praveen Bansode, Head - Safety CoE at Mahindra & Mahindra, spoke on accident data-based development for vehicular safety, evolution of accident research in India leading to safer mobility. He emphasized on the need for vehicular safety and urged for a collaborative approach among stakeholders to prevent accidents.
Girikumar V Kumaresh, senior architect – Accident Research, Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions, called for action to achieve common goals, which includes safety on Indian roads and the safety of pedestrians. “We need to adopt the Principle of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) for Pedestrian Protection,” he pointed out.
Targeting sustainability in India
In a session on sustainability, panellists spoke about the need to focus on sustainability along the whole vehicle lifecycle which includes production, operation, scrapping and recycling. The session chairman Captain (retd) N S Mohanram, Advisor, TVS Motors & chairman, SIAM Recycling Group, spoke on an urgent need to evolve environmentally feasible, socially acceptable and economically viable recycling methods for automobiles.
Navin Paul, managing director, Sunbeam Auto, said there is a shift underway in the domestic automobile industry towards adopting a sustainable approach and also renewable sources of energy.
Speaking on reducing plastics and need for recycling, Thomas Sewald, Head of Corporate Environment, Continental AG, revealed advances in sustainability in the Mexican supply chain model that aims to improve energy management performance.
Sanjay Khare, Board Member and vice-president - Safety & Environment, Volkswagen India, emphasised the need to bring sustainability in production of vehicles and focus more on innovations, alternatives and business models for low carbon manufacturing.
Prashant K Banerjee, executive director (Technical), SIAM, moderated a panel discussion on 'Safety and Sustainability Approaches in India and Germany'. The participants included Sujeet Sammadar, Senior Consultant , NITI Aayog; Sitikantha Padhy, Manager, Accident Data Analysis Center, NATRiP; Thomas Sewald, Head of Corporate Environment, Continental AG; Hendrik Liers, Heiko Burkle and Ramashankar Pandey, managing director, Hella India Lighting.
Each panellist identified priority recommendations namely Environmental and Propulsion Performance Requirements (EPPR), ensuring instant data record features on vehicles, supply chain management and action for sustainability, working on behavioural patience on roads and collaboration to gain support from other countries, which will help in learning process and reducing errors. The panellists also called for making data more harmonised and in sync with global practices.
Also read: StopTheCrash campaign launched in India, pedestrian safety feature in cars kicks in from October, AEB and ESC by 2022
ESCape to safety
PV airbags and 2W ABS as a big business opportunity in India
Continental showcases 2-wheeler safety tech at StopTheCrash initiative
ZF gears up to localise ESC in India
European Union lists safety features mandate for 2021