Life saving safety features in car such as airbags and anti-lock braking systems, which are optional as of today may be made mandatory by the government by 2014, especially in the wake of rising road-related accidental deaths. Casualty rate in India is the highest in the world with regards to road accidents leaving more than 150,000 people dead every year or one death every 3.5 minutes. India witnesses more than 500,000 accidents every year. Market research and consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan in a recently released report titled Indian Vehicle Technologies Evolution Roadmap, finds that airbag and anti-lock braking system (ABS) are likely to become mandatory in Indian passenger vehicles by FY14". Presently safety features like airbags, anti-lock braking systems, electronic brake force distribution and traction control are offered as an option. One of the most crucial safety features like seat belts were made mandatory by the government in 1994. Existing infrastructure support in terms of road space availability and under developed national highways will not be able to support the continued uptick in demand for vehicles for the next several years. "Social and legislative factors such as better urban infrastructure, and safety and emission norms play a vital role in the evolution of automotive technologies. India’s large population and a low car penetration rate of approximately eight cars per 1,000 people translate to significant untapped potential for the automotive industry", added the report. Further, features like electronic power steering, power windows, remote locking and fog lamp to name a few will see greater acceptance moving forward in India. "The 58.2% penetration rate for electric power steering in passenger vehicles is projected to grow by 20-22% by FY17.
Multilink suspension systems will continue to be used over the next five years, as these systems are economical", added the report. Vehicle manufacturers offer vehicle stability features only in the high-end variants of compact segment models. However, by 2014, ABS and electronic brake distribution (EBD) is expected to become mandatory in all models at all trim levels. Tyre pressure monitoring systems and electronic stability programs (ESPs) are likely to witness 100% penetration by FY’16 in the utility vehicle segment. Comfort and conveyance features such as power windows, remote locking, fog lamp, and rear AC vents will witness more than 80% penetration over the next five years, the report adds.