Continental, the international automotive supplier, has set a new benchmark in driving safety for the Indian market, by presenting a wide range of integrated safety systems to the Indian automotive market. This is extremely relevant for a country that recorded the highest number of deaths in road accidents globally in 2009.
According to a WHO report, road fatalities are an "epidemic" that will become the world's fifth biggest cause of fatality by 2030. In the context of the poor road safety in the country, Continental is introducing innovative and affordable safety systems to the Indian market that could lower accident rates considerably.
Under the slogan "safety for everyone", Continental's Chassis & Safety Division concentrates on offering safety technologies not just to satisfy the requirements of various customers and markets, but to allow these technologies to be installed in all vehicle categories.
Addressing the various safety threats on Indian roads, Continental's India Head for the Division Chassis & Safety, Murali Srinivasan, said, "At Continental, we view safety as a non-negotiable topic and without any compromise. In view of the globally available safety systems and technologies that have made us a global market leader, we are committed to making the price of safety technologies attractive and, as a result, see them being increasingly installed in all vehicle categories. Safety systems should not be viewed any longer only for privileged premium models."
"With affordable cars being the trend in the Indian market, now is the time to educate our society on the importance of safety systems such as airbags and anti-lock braking systems (ABS). We need to be putting more effort into telling consumers about the benefits of such safety systems, which I would say, are an investment; not an additional feature as we Indians so often see safety. We are talking of human lives here. Safety is non-negotiable", Srinivasan re-emphasized.
As one of the world's leading suppliers of brake and brake actuation systems, Continental produces innovative, optimized solutions for braking technology for vehicles of all classes. The product portfolio ranges from brake calipers, parking and drum brakes to brake hoses and boosters. Hydraulic braking technologies go a long way in ensuring drivers’ safety, because, in order to halt a car weighing about two tons and traveling at high speed, the power of about 1000 kilowatts is needed, which has to be provided reliably in a matter of seconds.
Electronic brake systems (EBS) nowadays rank among the most performance active systems in terms of traffic safety. They ensure the stability and controllability of the vehicle in situations where sudden, unexpected external influences can easily turn driving into a sliding experience. The advantages of electronically controlled braking are obvious: the shortest possible braking distance as well as stability-enhancing braking and steering interventions – and thus more safety in road traffic.
Around a quarter of all accidents involving injury to occupants are caused by the vehicle skidding. Electronic brake systems from Continental rank among the most field-proven safety factors that effectively assist the driver in this situation. They intervene supportively if the vehicle threatens to become unstable, and prevent it from leaving the lane. The car remains stable. The EBS category includes ABS and ESC systems including numerous additional functions and options of integration.
In the event of an emergency braking, there is a risk that the vehicle’s wheels will lock. ABS prevents this by electronically controlling the braking force so that the vehicle remains capable of steering and stable. ABS offers additional safety, especially in critical situations, and should be practically standard in today’s cars. These were the challenges that had to be met in developing a new ABS for the emerging markets. But that's not all: the new system had to be at least as good as the ABS MK 70 that is in global series production since 2002.
Smaller vehicles and therefore less installation space made the reduction in size necessary, but at the same time, the lower engine output and lower overall vehicle weight in these markets also allowed a downsizing of the ABS unit, leading to a reduction in material costs.
The next generation MK 100, which is currently in preproduction, once again cuts down considerably on size and weight compared to its MK 70 predecessor. In addition, Continental has also developed the MK 78 ABS unit that is most suited for emerging markets and offers a reduced lead time to introduction.
Continental is also strengthening its presence in the two-wheel market with a new, compact anti-lock braking system (ABS) for motorcycles. The MAB (motorcycle anti-lock braking system) developed by the Chassis & Safety Division weighs only about 1.2 kilograms and can therefore be inserted relatively easily into the structure of most motorcycle designs.
Expert studies have proven that anti-lock braking systems provide great benefits for motorbike riders. Statistics show that one in five motorcycle accidents results in a fall due to a front wheel lock-up. Virtually all these falls (93 percent) could be prevented by an anti-lock braking system. Even if the stopping distance is insufficient to prevent a collision, controlled brake application can significantly reduce the impact velocity and thus the severity of the accident. If the rider falls off, the risk of suffering serious injuries rises considerably.
Under the influence of ESC (Electronic Stability Control) individual wheels are briefly decelerated within fractions of a second and the engine torque is instantly adjusted. The system continuously checks whether the actual direction of travel corresponds to that of the driver’s intended path. ESC will intervene immediately if safety-critical deviations are detected
The automotive markets around the world vary considerably. While vehicles for the European or North American buyers are equipped with a large number of airbags, the safety equipment in other parts of the world is often limited to the driver´s airbag.
SPEED is the basis for comprehensive safety – everywhere in the world. The SPEED (Safety Platform for Efficient & Economical Design) airbag control unit, has a modular design that can easily be adapted to the requirements of vehicle manufacturers. The multi-level concept meets the demands of all global markets and allows even entry-level models to be fitted with a high-performance airbag system.
While the countries in the West have stringent legislation regarding safety, India trails far behind. "Just the same way the Government of India has taken measures over the last ten years to reduce automotive exhaust emissions through legislation, we are hopeful that the same foresight will soon lead to stricter norms for improved occupant safety," said Srinivasan.
The basic version "SPEED XS" is fitted to affordable models in the small car category. SPEED XS provides basic functions with four firing loops as well as front and rear impact sensing. It is optionally available with side-impact sensing with up to eight firing loops. The target group is automotive manufacturers who produce for emerging markets. Up to four external crash sensors may be added.
The SPEED S module fulfills all the essential functions, such as activating the front and side airbags, and is thus especially also suitable for the rising demand for safety features in emerging markets and for elementary requirements of the restraint system, with a maximum of 12 firing loops. It supports four external crash sensors including pressure sensing.
Various interfaces for switches and display elements are configurable. SPEED offers great flexibility as a result, with the option of precisely tailoring the airbag control unit to the manufacturer's requirements, while largely benefiting from an identically engineered design, standard interfaces and mass-produced components.
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