India’s vehicle crash-test facilities get a makeover at Pune’s ARAI

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Pune | Published: January 7, 2015 12:42:59 AM

The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has set up a new vehicle crash test centre...

The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has set up a new vehicle crash test centre at Chakan, Pune. Work at the new centre is going on and civil works will be completed in four months after which all crash test facilities will be moved to Chakan.

For the first time in the country, the new vehicle crash test centre will offer full frontal crash test, side impact crash and offset frontal crash test, Rashmi Urdhwareshe, director, ARAI said. Around R210 crore is being invested in the project with NATRiP funding, Urdhwareshe said.

At present, a few companies have some of these facilities in- house but these are not available to the larger industry. Cars manufactured in India had fared poorly in the Global NCAP test leading to a perception that manufacturers were pushing unsafe cars in India. The new facility upgrades testing facilities in India.

The ARAI director defended car manufacturers in India and said these cars were tested at higher speed levels that are prevalent in US freeways and European autobahns and did not take into consideration the lower speeds that vehicles are available in India. The test speeds were done at 65 km per hour while cars in the Indian market were designed, engineered and tested at 56 km per hour as regulatory requires it to do at this speed. There are differences in test procedures and Indian vehicles were not designed to meet those standards, she said.

But as speeds on Indian roads are increasing and the vehicles need to be safer and comply with new crash standards so the government is implementing the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme, Urdhwareshe said.

The new passive safety lab at ARAI will have advanced programmable sled and crash test facilities, electric AC drive crash test system, photo pits to capture under body view during crash tests, pole impact test facility, include barrier and barbecue test facilities. The new ARAI facility at Chakan will have also three centres of excellence for powertrain, structural dynamics and materials.

ARAI is also setting up an Inspection and Certification Test centre for in-use vehicles to upgrade the roadworthiness testing for them.

There are 10 such centres coming up across the country under an the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways initiative out of which five centres will be set up by ARAI. The first such centre will be ready in the next couple of months at Nashik. This will replace the outdated PUC testing and hand-held equipment used by RTOs to assess life of in use vehicles.

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