IIT Meet Focuses on Human Factor in Transport Mishaps

Published: 30th January 2015 06:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th January 2015 06:01 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Human errors, many caused by driver fatigue, have long been established as one of the primary causes of accidents. But research on the same has not received the importance that has been its due. A collaborative programme by the Indian Institute of Technology, industry players and the state government though, is now trying to rectify this anamoly.

The Rehabilitation Bioengineering Group, a unit of IIT-M, in collaboration with the Institute of Road Transport, has been involved in extensive research and data collation on ‘Human Transportation Factors’ for sometime. And this is an effort that could result in policy changes, according to speakers from the government and IIT-M who spoke at a data sharing event on the program at IIT-M here on Thursday.

According to transport secretary to the Tamil Nadu government Prabhakara Rao, research on Human Transportation Factors, especially the ones like IIT-M’s, will end up influencing or even triggering policy decisions.

“We have not given the importance that is due to studies like this. It is these that will end up influencing policy decisions,” he said in his Chief Guest’s address.

In fact, the program at the Institute has taken its current avatar primarily due to the interest shown by the state government if IIT-M authorities are to be believed.

Venkatesh Balasubramaniam, Department of Engineering Design, told Express that while a concerted study had been going on in the topic in laboratory conditions for almost a decade, it was the visit of the Transport Minister and secretary that has taken the study from the lab to on road conditions.

“The government was very interested in taking this forward and it was after that we entered into a collaboration with the Institute of Road Transport. The study and program has also incorporated industry elements and the next step is to collaborate with OEMs,” he said.

At current status, the program is looking at extensive research, both in laboratory and on road conditions, on driver fatigue, comfort etc and the effect it has on performance.

“Collaboration with the industry has already seen positive results, with Haritha Seating, a seat manufacturer, has already manufactured seats to our specifications and these are being tested by us,” Balasubramaniam pointed out.

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