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Anti-lock braking to be mandatory from 2008news
29 September 2007

New Delhi: Starting 2008, Indian car manufacturers are likely to compulsorily install an anti-lock braking system (ABS) in all vehicles.

ABS provides for better braking, by preventing a car from skidding if it brakes at high speeds, especially on a wet surface.

Current safety guidelines do not mandate the installation of ABS on new vehicles, though the top-end variants of most vehicles provide this as an additional feature.

Say officials of the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project, installing ABS could be mandated in coming months as talks between vehicle manufacturers, governments and other stakeholders in the auto business have moved to an advanced stage of discussion.

As part of the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure project, a facility for testing ABS brakes is to come up at the Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (VRDE) at Ahmednagar, which will most probably be operational by 2009.

Till now, cost escalation has been the main reason for opposition by vehicle manufacturers for the mandatory upgrade to ABS. ABS is one of the mandatory safety features in European nations, which see wet weather most of the year round. For that reason, ABS has been a value-added feature for top-end variants in cars in India.

Presently the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Pune, is the only national agency for homologation and R&D facilities, and also has frontal car crash testing facility. However, it does not have facilities for testing other crash situations like rollovers, or side impacts.

National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure project is also working towards upgrading testing, homologation and R&D facilities for all vehicles manufactured in India, and will be the agency to upgrade testing and homologation facilities to international levels. It will establish five greenfield testing facilities, besides upgrading existing facilities at ARAI and VRDE.

The absence of wet roads for most of the year is the main sticking point, which car markers advocate to discourage the mandatory implementation of ABS, as the benefits of ABS come into play mostly on wet surfaces.

Crash testing tests a vehicle''s safety under crash conditions. Homologation relates to certification of a vehicle indicating that it meets safety and other norms as needed by the country.

At an allocation of Rs1,718 crore, the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure project will set up three regional homologation centres by the end of 2009 - one at Manesar in the north, an upgraded ARAI in the west, and a third at Chennai in the south, which would also have a full crash testing and research and development facility by 2011.

also see : Other Automotive reports

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Anti-lock braking to be mandatory from 2008