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Sense, Plan, Act - Towards A Zero Fatality Safety Standard - Krishan Kohli

Today the level of safety awareness on the road is very high and situations are changing. We don't leave it just to Destiny. We don't leave it to God. - Krishan Kohli - Vehicle Dynamics Head, Continental Technology


Mr. Krishan Kohli, Head of Vehicle Dynamics Unit, Continental

Adaptability is more than just an evolutionary success strategy. With its active chassis technology and electronic brakes, Continental leverages a wide range of interventions to adjust the vehicle’s behavior to unknown factors such as the condition of the road surface, load changes, and cornering. The business unit Vehicle Dynamics provides highly advanced braking technology for all vehicle types. It can be used in vehicles ranging from small cars right through to transportation vehicles, and even motorcycles. Krishan Kohli, Head Vechicle Dynamics for Continental Technology talks to BW BusinessWorld about 2/4 wheeler safety and emerging technologies

We all know India is a very big market for two-wheelers. So what kind of Products and policies do we need to improve in the safety of two-wheelers? 

I represent Vehicle Dynamics Division from Continental in India and we have Anti-Locking Braking System (ABS) technology. Which is one popular technology, we are already marketing and thereafter. We also have some other higher end technology. Right now for 4-wheelers, we have ABS, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) then we also have AEB - autonomous emergency braking solutions. For two-wheelers, we have ABS technology both one channel ABS and two-channel ABS then we also have the Motorcycle Integral Brake system – (MIB) solution, which is Advanced India currently.

Talking about Policies - The good news is that the government is determined and the regulation on safety for 125cc and above is coming with that regulation any 2wheeler below which is more than 125cc is mandated to have an ABS solution. Basically awareness towards safety has got generated in the market and seriousness that the government has to that awareness is culminating into these regulations. There are multiple fatalities that road accidents having India and globally. There are 16 accidents minute. Translate into how many fatalities per year you have So multiple hundreds of thousands of numbers that go into road fatalities and if I translate to human life value,  it's wrong to put a value to it. But if I translate somehow into Indian GDP, so the total fatality, one is the loss of human life, second is that other losses that happen around it. it's almost like 3% of the Indian GDP. That's the money in which we are wasting. We can save that money and deploy elsewhere. So safety is important, coming to two-wheelers. I think this regulation that's the first step now starting April you have a hundred per cent 125cc and above with ABS. 

There is one more thing which is happening in the country. As a Nation, we are graduating to the segmentation of users. So there is a mass Market which needs a solution for point A to point B, but then there is also a growing segment which needs performance solutions. So today Harley is making a lot of business in India. They have already put a local assembly. Triumph is also thinking of expanding and KTMs have formed a joint venture. BMW, TVS all the brands are coming because there is a market which is evolving So the solutions over 125 CC will keep growing. So today if I put a number 125 CC and above close to 4 – 4.5 million over five years we'll see more than 7 – 7.5 million units. This is a large market opportunity that is coming. We are very excited about this situation. 

Tell us more about the challenges that India as a country with policies and with the government and with the education levels and populations faces on Road Safety.

I think in past what was happening is the biggest challenge that we had was an awareness. So I this is my own philosophy there is a saying called - out of sight out of mind. So when you ask for something that thing becomes important, when you don't ask it means it's not required. So we never had awareness in the country. As nobody asked for it.

I think the awareness was the biggest issue but over time awareness for safety and awareness for life has really grown. And today the level of awareness is very high and situations are changing. We don't leave it just to Destiny. We don't leave it to God. so today what are the other issues? So awareness is one which is already in place and the good part is the government is started to emphasize on safety. The third big thing which is exciting is that people like NCAP are coming forward and they are really supporting this cause and that brings an opportunity also for people like us – continental. We join hands with NCAP and now can demonstrate these Technologies and we are expecting some decisions sometime soon, and that will take safety to the next level. We have Solutions which are available for the market those Solutions get the safety to the next level for four-wheelers. We have an ESC which actually gets a better traction control for all wheels. ABS is the starting point as you get to ESC your safety levels go up. If I take an ESC Solution on an average sedan and SUV, the fatalities get reduced by 30 to 35% on a sedan and in an SUV it is over 50% reduction in the fatality. So that's the technology and for the two-wheelers again, we are excited now, as both one channel and two channel ABS will come, the mainstream will be one channel ABS today. And then maybe a couple of years we stabilize and then you take it to the next level of MIB solutions. 

Tell us about Vision Zero of Continental. 

As an organization, Continental is committed to safety and we work on technologies providing solutions in the market. We work with partners like what NCAP and other stakeholders. To get safety standard to Zero fatalities basically. To forward this, we internally have this strategy called – Sense Plan Act, While driving you have to keep your senses alert, and then you also have to plan ahead and you have to react based on the situation on the road. So under that "sense plan act " we have Technology Solutions. Which are into Sensing, solutions that are into planning and there are solutions into acting so vehicle Dynamic Solutions are mostly in acting the part but also sensing a little bit and then we have Solutions like (ADAS) - Advanced Driver Safety Assist. So that is into all sensing. With the Sense Plan Act strategy, we are working very strongly in Vision zero, which is a vision for continental globally and we are working in every single Market including India very strongly to that Vision zero.

So recently Continental has been really active in the country with initiatives like R&D Center in Gurugram, IIT Madras MOU. So what are the reasons that continental is investing so much in India? 

India has been really gaining a lot of attention globally over the last many years. We have been getting a lot of global attention for the right reasons. The first reason is the market overall is big and it's growing and in the last one decade we have been seeing from a country’s standpoint the macro drivers are all in place. The economy is really getting stronger, fiscal deficits are so far in control and the GDP has been growing at a strong 7% with again some comparisons globally against China some consolidation and some change in strategy is needed. The current government is focusing on consolidation and then how do we drive this into the consumer-driven economy. Now China has taken a step back. The new Norm for growth is 6% but India is now a 7% plus almost at 7.6%. So that is really giving huge excitement as a country. We are growing faster and if you see overall we are almost in the top 5 economies and then there is a huge domestic market. So that really opens a lot of opportunity and Continental when we set up our footprint in India. We saw the growth in the country. We also saw an opportunity where we have the right Technologies to get in. Not just the tires and rubber but also Automotive technologies. There are so many opportunities we have, so we have set up an engineering centre in Bangalore a couple of years back and this is our complete engineering centre, Technical Center, it's a Global Hub working on not just Indian market but Global markets and we have close to three thousand plus people working it's a fully functional engineering centre inside. And with that, there is also R&D Labs that we have in Gurugram that we recently announced. The plant in Manesar, Gurugram, is where we do a lot of Vehicle Dynamics  

We have another business unit – ADAS. This comes under chassis and safety vertical. ADAS is where all Advanced Driver assistance systems come. All the next level of autonomous driving is where they step in so we already have MOU which we recently signed up with the IIT Madras where we agreed to work on future Technologies. 

Future of Automotive Tech and Cyber technology in Automotive?

Cyber technology is one which is a big part ADAS other things will come. If we look at Global Automotive Megatrends India follows Europe and Global markets. Electrification is one Trend globally, all this is now overlapping Connected Vehicles, Shared Mobility Autonomous driving. So these are four things that we hear. So autonomous driving needs a lot of Technologies. We definitely need ESC, we need ADAS all the radar and everything. Networking and other Solutions on a connected vehicle, the infrastructure in the country. So that's where we see eventually this Market will be. Eventually, our market will graduate to these technologies, Today India is a little away from these technologies Autonomous driving will come and electrification will definitely come to India. With the MOU signed with IIT Madras, we will be working on these technologies and we want to be there when these trends come to India.

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