• Testing the Latest Safety Solutions for Two-Wheelers in India

Continental Automotive showcase its ABS, OCB, TCS and ARAS safety technologies

India is a two-wheeler country and one of the world’s largest consumers and producers of motorcycles and scooters. The majority of these are vehicles developed for the mass market and slot under the 350cc segment. Today almost all two-wheelers offer standard safety features. However, unlike passenger cars, various segments in the two-wheeler space only get basic or almost no safety technology. A report published in 2020 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways mentioned that two-wheeler riders made up almost 40 per cent of those killed in road accidents in 2019. While ABS was made standard on all two-wheelers above 125cc, more technologies can further enhance safety.

We were recently invited by Continental Automotive to experience several two-wheeler safety solutions that have been developed for enhancing road safety. While most of us have experienced the ABS on two-wheelers, the Continental test track mimicked a slippery surface that is even more extreme than real-world conditions and almost like riding on ice. We tested various ABS-equipped two-wheelers that even featured ABS modes that modulate braking force and prevent wheel lock-up based on the surface (Road, Rain, Off-Road). It’s a feature that can save lives and needs to be offered standard on all two-wheelers irrespective of class or segment. We interacted with Praveen Kumar, R&D Head of Motorcycle Vehicle Dynamics and he mentioned that ABS isn’t mandatory today on electric scooters, this is a growing concern as it is not just a growing segment but these scooters are as quick as larger motorcycles. 

There’s also cornering ABS, a feature that’s again seen on larger and more premium motorcycles but can be made available on smaller-capacity motorcycles too. We tested a motorcycle equipped with Optimised Curve Braking or OCB. The system uses the lean angle information from the Continental developed sensor box and based on the lean, the ABS sensitivity varies and avoids wheel lock up. Braking around corners that way becomes a lot safer and I could even jam the brakes and straighten the vehicle around the corner. 

The other important safety technology is the Traction Control System or TCS. This feature is available only on larger motorcycles but Continental has the technology ready for smaller displacement motorcycles too. Usually, the rear wheel on a two wheeler can end up spinning faster than the front end on slippery surfaces and the rider can lose balance leading to a bad crash. This feature makes a huge difference and with TCS, we were able to ride an automatic scooter at full throttle over a slippery and wet surface.

Finally, the Advanced Rider Assistance Systems or ARAS is also ready to be offered by Continental to any two-wheeler. Like on cars, the two-wheeler is equipped with a radar unit installed in the front and rear of the vehicle. This hardware helps offer features such as Blind Spot Assistance, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning and Rear collision warning. The rider is alerted by LED lights that blink on the dash and mirror based on the condition. We experienced these features on a demo bike and the technologies worked flawlessly. Two-wheeler safety technologies are on the rise and are ready to be offered in even lower segments developed by Continental Automotive. The company aims to deliver intelligent safety systems that will ensure its Vision Zero campaign of Zero Fatalities, Zero Injuries and Zero Crashes soon becomes a reality.

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