A father and son duo were inspired to look for safety solutions for the Indian market when a young son meets an accident in the US and is saved because of the safety systems in the vehicle in 2012. That’s the story of Paritosh Dagli and Rajesh Dagli who have designed Sixth Sensor – India’s first Collison avoidance system.
“The goal was to have a safety system for all kinds of vehicles in India, it all started with a collision warning system that detects obstacles on the road, and starts alarming the driver to keep a safe distance, the system is approved by ARAI Pune. We wanted to keep it as an aftermarket system and not an OEM system so that it could be retrofitted in any vehicle. However, we soon realized that just a warning system was not enough, and thus we graduated to a collision avoidance system which cuts down the accelerator controls and brakes if the vehicles is about to collide.” says Paritosh
Another simple system which prevents accidents due to sleep and is part of the Collison avoidance system is a simple plug and play thing which only costs a few thousands. “Sleep is a major reason for accidents, we have a simple and effective system where the driver needs to perform a certain action at regular intervals during the night hours to let the system know that he is awake, else the accelerator get cuts off. It is a very cost effective system and is gaining wide acceptance in the market especially in the employee transportation segment during the night hours.”
Road Safety a challenge in India
India is a market where safety is at a back seat – it has one the world’s highest accident and road fatality rates, with more than one lakh people dying in road accidents in India every year, injury rate is three to four times higher.
An effective system at fraction of a cost
Safety systems are not a new concept, and have been quite prevalent globally. However, most of these are OEM fitted systems are complex and expensive, while sixth sensor products are simple retro fits and cost effective, claims Paritosh.
Every start-up needs an anchor, and it was Hubli based VRL logistics which gave a head start to Sixth sensor in 2015 helping them test the efficacy of their products in real-life scenario. “VRL logistics gave us a good platform for our products and we have installed the Collison avoidance system in their 450 buses and 300 trucks. VRL has been able to decrease it accident rates by 80%-90%.” highlights Paritosh
A testimony from VRL highlights that they have been able to reduce the number of accidents to 2 in a month from 12 in a month, and the only intervention is the sixth sensor Collison avoidance system.
According to Sixth Sensor, the system currently costs below 40,000, while they are focusing to cut the costs further down. Also, it is a B2B offering, which Paritosh wants to take to the B2C segment, but says he needs a larger marketing investment, which is currently holding him back.
Sixth sensor’s patent pending system is gaining acceptance and has now been installed in more than 1000 vehicles across India. I could test the system myself through a toy demo at the NIPP mobility challenge. A video for the same is in the link: Sixth Sensor Toy Car Demo
Overall, the Sixth Sensor technology has the potential to change the road safety scenario in India and the team is working towards the same.
Stay tuned for more such start-up stories in NASSCOM’s forth coming report “Making Urban Mobility – Sustainable, Seamless and Safe”.