AIS 140: Precursor To A Shift In The Way India Moves
Published In 2019 Edition
As per the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), about 65% of freight and 80% passenger traffic is carried by road in our country. Despite looming concerns of increasing costs of road transport, the Indian road transport industry is pegged to see double-digit CAGR upto 2025. With such a high contribution of freight traffic and the sheer number of vehicles involved in the road transport sector, it was only natural that the Government of India would work towards improving these transportation systems in terms of efficiency, quality, comfort and safety.
The greatest hazards posed to the general public by freight movement are over speeding, harsh acceleration & braking and the perils associated with night driving. These concerns are most relevant to Oil & Gas transporters who in addition to traffic safety, also face the risk of vehicle accidental damage, loss of freight in an event of an accident, higher fuel consumption & malpractices like unauthorized use of their vehicles & fuel pilferage at the hands of the driver.
In order to mitigate such issues, globally manufacturers have adopted Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) into their products. ITS framework consists of Vehicle Location Tracking, Camera Surveillance System and Emergency Request Button which provide both the Government authorities & Oil & Gas transporters complete access to the whereabouts of their vehicle and monitor usage parameters which can lead to adherence to safety guidelines, assurance of freight safety & great operation efficiency improvements.
The AIS 140 standards has been prepared by Automotive Industry Standards Committee (AISC) to lay down the requirements of the ITS to be adopted for Public transport & National Permit vehicles in India. These standards have been approved by the permanent CMVR Technical Standing Committee (CTSC) and the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), being the secretariat of the AIS Committee, will oversee the publishing of these standards as well as future amendments.
In the current phase of AIS 140, OEM manufacturers have been directed to install Vehicle Location Tracking devices with an in-built emergency button in all new Oil & Gas Tankers and Transporters need to comply by fitting VLT devices approved by test agencies such as ARAI, iCAT notified under Rule 126 of Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) to their existing fleet of in-use vehicles.
So this stokes the debate of how can AIS 140 standards and the resultant fitment of VLT help Oil & Gas operators? ...
To answer this, we need to understand how these VLT’s function and the features embedded in them. The main objective of the project is to introduce a tracking system for continuous monitoring of public transport vehicles for better road safety and better support for enforcement services. Firstly, an AIS 140 standard VLT device has an embedded SIM and will be capable of transmitting position; velocity and time (PVT data) along with direction of travel every 5 secs during vehicle operation using GSM/GPRS technology to at least 3 configurable IP addresses. In the event of an emergency faced by the vehicle operator, the activation of the in-built emergency button will send an alert to the nearest government authority so that help can be sent immediately. In the absence of GPRS Network, the alert will be sent as an SMS by the device itself along-with vehicle location data. Thus, not only can the vehicle be monitored on a live basis, it can even support in the event of no network and thus providing a vital safety net to the Oil & Gas operator. In addition, the device also supports Over the Air (OTA) functionality by which the operator himself can set threshold limits for parameter like sleep time, overspeed limit, harsh braking, harsh acceleration & rash turning. In a nutshell, Fleet operators can exercise virtual control over their entire tanker fleet ensuring their safety and optimizing fuel consumption while also ensuring safe freight transportation which is highly inflammable and hazardous by nature.
For the government, the VLT device will provide running information of all operating tankers and allow them to monitor them for better traffic management. Additionally, the authorities can also extend faster support to the vehicle operator in case of an emergency. This means both traffic regulation and emergency support, of which the Government has been criticized heavily, can now be ensured by means of AIS 140 standard VLT devices.
The immediate challenge faced by both OEMs and Oil & Gas operators is the availability of ARAI/iCAT approved VLT device vendors to cater to the huge fleet of tankers in India and the one-time cost impact of fitment which will have to be borne by the operator. However, in the long term, the dual benefit of better operation efficiency and freight safety will definitely yield a positive impact to both operators & society at large. Safer tanker operations will help operators to extend the service life of their vehicles and reduce operational expenses usually incurred towards accidental repair & freight insurance costs. Better vehicle resale value is another offshoot benefit of such safe operation which will aide in the business model adopted by fleet operators.
To spearhead the change devised by AIS 140, vendors like Indian Auto Company (IAC) which is a New Delhi based DIPP registered start-up, already have a line-up of ARAI/iCAT approved AIS 140 standard VLT devices to cater the needs of the Oil & Gas Operators. These devices are IP-67 rated (water and dust proof) ensuring long-life and are best suited to the hardy conditions in which Tankers operate. These VLT devices are readily available across IAC’s wide-spread network pan India and is part of IAC’s commitment of offering best automotive solutions in tracking & telematics, smart infotainment, rear seat infotainment and driver fatigue systems.
We can safely conclude then that AIS 140 Standard implemented by the Government of India is one of the many steps in fostering the adoption of technologies towards the end of making Oil & Gas transport by road safer & more efficient in India. The safety & innovation journey has just begun and will definitely contribute immensely towards making India greener!