Hi-tech times call for hi-tech solutions. That's the impression one would get from Bosch's innovations that are geared towards minimising road accidents in the country.
Its Smart Emergency Crash Notification (sECN) app can provide rapid assistance to motorists involved in collisions. The company is also working on its Bosch Accident Research Project to collate and analyse accident data. That's because official statistics in India are not sufficient enough for analyses of traffic safety-related issues like infrastructure and vehicle safety systems. These technology-driven solutions could go a long way in making lives safer for people.
The two are among a series of innovations that have been developed by Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Ltd in Bangalore.
The first, the sECN app, was developed with the aim of bringing rapid assistance to motorists involved in collisions. In case of a crash, the sECN app automatically sends an SMS to a number (any emergency service or family members), which can be personalised. The app is paired with the vehicle via bluetooth. In the event of a crash, a trigger is initiated by an airbag control unit. On receiving the trigger from the vehicle, the sECN app finds the location (latitude and longitude) of the accident and sends SMS alerts to personalised emergency contacts.
Nataraju V, team member from RBEI that developed this app, says there are several challenges towards implementing the World Health Organization's Global Decade for Road Safety. He explains this in the context of the app that has been developed, "The sECN app addresses the fifth pillar of the action plan, i.e. 'post-crash response'. In a post-crash event, the most important aspect to protect the life of the victim is to ensure s/he receives appropriate trauma care within the 'golden hour'. This app helps facilitate seamless linking of accident victims to appropriate emergency services.
"The automatic notification of accident location to family members and emergency services helps minimise the response time. The scope of this product is tremendous if other stakeholders (police, hospitals, and insurance agencies) are also involved in traffic management and hospital preparedness."
The other innovation is more intangible. Girikumar K, team member of the Bosch Accident Research Project, feels that the WHO initiative to stabilise and then reduce road traffic fatalities can only be achieved by detailed root cause analysis of road traffic accidents. This is where the project comes in.
To collect and analyse in-depth accident data, Bosch started its accident research activities in India in 2009, with a pilot study of 50 accidents. For each accident, 250 variables were captured and analysed. Emboldened by the results, between 2009 and 2014, 900 accident cases with more than 1,000 variables were captured and analysed.
Macro-data is analysed to identify relevant accident scenarios. Accident kinds and causes, and the 'function' (the trigger) placement into the accident chronology are used to support the function design. The draft is implemented into a simulation environment or analysis is done in order to determine the field of effect and benefit of the system. The reproduction of real world accident scenarios thus enables recursive development. Within this phase, detailed in-depth accident data is used to support the well-known development methods.
The outcome of these accident research activities are now being used in the identification of key issues concerning traffic safety in India. Entities like the Union ministry of surface transport and even the local police are beginning to make use of the findings.
The bottomline is this: find out the exact cause (time, location and situation-specific), and then don't let that happen again.