Automotive Research Association of India is one of the premier organization which is involved in product design and development, evaluation of automotive equipment and ancillary, standardization, technical information services, execution of advanced courses on the application of modern technology and conduct of specific tests. Under National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP) various such organization in our country not only set rules but also regulate the overall automotive industry of India.
Many of us recognizes ARAI as the agency which tells us the most important figure , in Indian automobile scene, which is the Fuel Efficiency figure. But other tasks at their hands are more complex than that. Three dimensional road profile measurement is one such herculean task handled by them. The word ‘Herculean’ has been used because, variety and quantity of data which is gathered and processed is too large during this work. Data collection is done using lasers, accelerometers, GPS device, wheel encoders and video cameras which can be mounted on any vehicle. We have spotted one such Mahindra Scorpio in Pune. Based on algorithm, this data is fed and processed in on-board computers and then it gets recorded such that it can be replicated in testing laboratory. System can measure the distance with accuracy of 1 mm and sampling rate is 50,000 samples/s and all these readings can be taken even when the vehicle is traveling at a speed of 120 kmph. The type of data collected is – how smooth the road is across the width and along the length, depth and width of potholes and their effect on the vehicle, effect of incline or decline in road surface etc. All this data is then digitally converted and is made available on computer for simulation purpose and hence it is also called as ‘Bringing Road to Desk’
But you might be wondering why so much data is collected and how it is going to be used further? Based on collected data, roads are classified in different categories such as typical city road, national highway, state highway, rough road, country road, and express way. From this point onwards post processing of collected data starts. Depending upon the target market, for which a company wants to design their vehicle, company decides various parameters of the design. Like what should be the ground clearance? should the vehicle be soft sprung or hard sprung? how much damping has to be provided? what will be the extreme conditions in which vehicle has to survive etc? The undulations in tarmac surface causes stress on the vehicle body and suspension. Such repeated stresses over the period of time cause failure of any such component due to fatigue and hence cause serious damage to the vehicle as well as occupants. This is the main reason ARAI and manufacturers treat this with utmost importance.
Further, with the help of special simulator, conditions similar to that of road are reproduced in laboratory and vehicle is subjected to those conditions. From readings obtained during simulations, manufacturer can analyze condition of the vehicles after the test. This information is finally translated into some modification in design of the vehicle which will make it more reliable and safer for using on our roads. ARAI not only regulates but also facilitates companies in providing better and safer vehicles for us.