The SIAM annual convention which was held in the first week of September is an essential event for the Indian Automotive industry, it's a single platform for the government to address the automotive industry and for the automotive industry to have their concerns heard by the government. This years’ SIAM summit focused on shared and connected mobility and the cost of implementation of BS6. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari also tried to further his stance on improving road safety in India. Largely by improving the quality of the vehicles fail-safe systems like ABS and airbags. At the moment all new cars introduced into the Indian market will have to meet more stringent crash test norms. The next year, all existing cars will also be required to meet these norms. Other safety features, like reverse parking sensors and speed reminders, are set to become standard as well.
Building on this at the 2018 SIAM conference, Union Minister for Road and Highway Transport said that they are working towards introducing a mandate which will bring Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) in all cars by 2022. Now even at face value, and considering the given timeline, this seems like a tall order. Intelligent driver assist programs are expensive to install, and will greatly add to the floor price of cars across the spectrum if this is bought in place. Naturally, we expect the entire spectrum of auto manufacturers to be concerned over this, but before that one must consider the merit. ADAS or Advanced Driver Assistance Systems use artificial intelligence to monitor both outside and in-car environments to ensure driver errors are reduced to an absolute minimum.
We contacted, Prashanth Doreswamy, Head, Continental India, to ask about the feasibility of installing ADAS in India, he replied saying "The first step towards implementation of ADAS is to have ESC, or Electronic Stability Control - as a basic requirement in a vehicle. We need to first mandate ESC for all vehicle categories. Two, ADAS features available in mature markets cannot be adopted as is, in India. We need to consider aspects such as infrastructure, complex traffic situations, regulations, driver discipline, and so on. To give an example, ADAS functionalities encompass radar-based car safety systems, that activate features like Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), blind spot detection etc. The spectrum required for these radars to work has not been standardized by the government. This de-licensing will be necessary."
At present top-shelf manufacturers, the likes of Volvo and Mercedes are the only ones offering real advanced assistance systems like adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance and automatic braking. We expect this to trickle-down into more mass-market cars as time goes by. As of now, infrastructurally speaking, India may have a long way to go before these systems can be implemented. These systems rely largely on lane markings, road signs and good road surface. Over-reliance on these systems without the infrastructure in place can be a combination for disaster. Hopefully, the government will be working on putting the infrastructure in place by then, good roads and mandatory ADAS can drastically increase the safety of highways.