An Indian government panel has made a significant recommendation aimed at enhancing road safety. They propose that automakers incorporating advanced connectivity features in vehicles to enable communication with other vehicles and external systems should receive better ratings on crash tests, according to a draft report.
In a country with alarmingly high accident rates, this advice could compel automakers to equip their vehicles with technology facilitating communication between drivers and road systems, such as traffic lights.
The draft report, spanning 58 pages, emphasizes the significance of connectivity in addressing traffic issues, particularly in non-line-of-sight scenarios. It points out that most sensors struggle in such situations, which is where vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology, often referred to as connected car technology, comes into play.
The panel recommends that V2X be considered for inclusion in India’s Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), which issues car safety ratings, bringing India in line with similar developments in Europe, China, and the United States. However, the report does not specify a deadline for the implementation of these recommendations.
While many car manufacturers in India have begun exploring advanced connectivity features, they have not yet finalized a timeline for widespread adoption.
The Indian government’s report will undergo review by the communication ministry, chaired by its representative, and the road ministry to determine the potential implementation of these recommendations.
India’s roads, known for their crowded and chaotic nature, present a variety of challenges, leading to numerous accidents and fatalities. In 2021 alone, over 153,000 people died in more than 412,000 road accidents in the country.
With India’s infrastructure facing limitations in accommodating growth, the adoption of technology, as proposed by the panel, becomes imperative in addressing these road safety challenges.
The current voluntary Bharat NCAP system in India assesses vehicles based on their collision impact, without mandating specific features for car manufacturers. Advanced connectivity solutions, such as V2X, have the potential to greatly improve road safety by issuing warnings even miles ahead using a dedicated network. It is estimated that V2X technology in the United States alone could prevent at least 600,000 crashes annually.
Some practical applications of V2X mentioned in the draft report include weather warnings during fog or heavy rain and assisting navigation at blind intersections with no clear line of sight.
The report also advocates for priority rules in allocating spectrum for connected car applications and the establishment of a “multi-stakeholder” task force to formulate and enforce policies governing the proliferation of V2X technology.
The implementation of these recommendations could herald a new era of road safety and accident prevention in India by harnessing the power of connectivity and technology.