Now, a device to put you off the collision course

State looks at the possibility of refining a gadget invented by Dombivli engineer; device sounds a siren if the vehicle gets too close to another

After CM Prithviraj Chavan expressed his concerns with the alarming number of fatal accidents across the state, especially in Mumbai, the state transport department is looking at the possibilities of exploiting an anti-collision device that could be fitted inside vehicles in the future.

Umesh Patil wires up the anti-collision device he invented to a car.
Pics/Sameer Markande

Recently, an engineer from Dombivli, Umesh Patil, made a presentation to the transport commissioner, of a device that would alert the person behind the wheel if his vehicle gets dangerously close to another automobile or object. The state transport department is looking at refining this device.

Anti-collision device

"We will direct him to agencies that could help test the device thoroughly. We need to standardise any device before making it mandatory," said Transport Commissioner VN More.

The device, priced at Rs 300 for now, is so conceived that it would sound out a distress signal if a vehicle in front or behind gets too close. "The device will blink red and give out a loud siren that would alert the motorist. The distance at which the device senses danger can be set by the government," said its inventor Umesh Patil, who hasn't patented it yet,

Hear, hear
For instance, said Patil, the device would release sound if it is as close as 50 feet from another vehicle while running at an average speed of 80 kmph. This could be useful especially on highways where motorists tend to accelerate wildly. Such devices are found in high-end cars but transport experts say that they are very expensive.

The transport department has valid reasons to want to minimise mishaps. Between 2005-10, there have been over 1.72 lakh accidents in Mumbai. In 2010, 71,289 road accidents killed 12,340 people. In 2009, 71,995 accidents claimed 11,403 lives.

But presently, the department doesn't have any plans to make the device mandatory in vehicles. As per the process, any new system, before becoming mandatory, has to undergo stringent tests and needs to be approved by certified transport and motor vehicle agencies and the central government.

Only after the requisite screening and approvals to the device, the necessary amendments can be made in the Motor Vehicles Act. The procedure would follow only when the state transport department is certain that this device would be of help in curbing accidents.

Sources said that as per the demonstration, the device seemed to function well and showed promise. "We cannot say much until this device is tested on several vehicles and the results are analysed," said another official from the transport department.

1.7 lakh The number of accidents that occurred in the city between the years 2005 and 2010

Rs 300 The approximate cost of the unrefined anti-collision device

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