Indian roads witness almost 400 deaths per day. Most of the deaths from road accidents can be traced to the complete mockery of road and driving safety guidelines by the drivers, one also cannot deny the role of the poor road conditions, non-availability of emergency medical care as well as cars that are not equipped with apt safety standards. A welcome move in this regard though is the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways announcement that Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) will be available as standard across all passenger vehicles by 2022-23. The announcement was made by Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) at the Global NCAP World Congress in Delhi-NCR. Reportedly, Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport Highways & Shipping, had hinted inclusion of advanced driver assistance systems mandatory in cars at the SIAM annual convention in September.
What is AEB and ESC?
AEB and ESC are part of Collision avoidance system. The AEB employs radar, laser and camera to detect any impending collision and warn the driver accordingly. In case the collision is imminent, the AEB works autonomously by braking or steering or both. AEB is ideal for avoiding fatal head-on collision at city speeds (up to 65 mph). On the other hand, ESC comes in to play during sharp turns. It can easily detect any traction loss and applies brakes autonomously to regain control.
The Effect on Price Tag
Both AEB and ESC were up till now premium safety features. This means that they were part of only flagship offerings and top-spec variants. At present Volvo XC40 @ Rs 40 lakh is the most affordable car to offer AEB. This means that an increase in price tag of post 2022-23 is imminent. However, unlike India, AEB is standard across all mass-market offerings in Europe and UK. Expect AEB to increase car prices by atmost Rs 50,000.
The UK-spec Suzuki Baleno is equipped with AEB like safety features and this makes the hatchback costlier by Rs 1 lakh than its sibling he SZ-T variant. Other safety features on the UK-spec Suzuki Baleno include automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, rear electric windows, LED rear lights and colour trip display. Reportedly, the UK-spec Suzuki Baleno is exported from India.
Similarly, addition of ESC on the safety feature list of Indian cars is pegged to increase the cost by a considerable amount. American Manufacturer Ford offers ESC as an option across the entire range of its products. Freestyle’s Titanium variant comes equipped with ESC and this makes it about Rs 49,000 costlier that its immediate sibling variants.
Considering the above points, we can say that the introduction of AEB and ESC as standard safety standards across all cars will surely increase the price tag by at least Rs 60,000. However, considering the life saving promises that AEB and ESC have to offer, we are sure the budget driven Indian Automobile Sector would not mind one bit for paying just a little more for his/her dream car.