KOZHIKODE: Arjun Ravi, now a final-year mechanical engineering student, was always worried about overloaded vehicles. He says he was afraid of sights such as students crammed into a school bus or an autorickshaw passing through a zig-zag route. Perhaps, it might be these experiences which have triggered him from inside in developing a technology to detect overloading vehicles.
But it was not just Arjun, but a group of four students — all final-year mechanical engineering students from St Thomas Engineering College, Mattannur, who have come up with the technology to detect this issue. The ‘Vehicle Overload Detection System’ (VODS) developed by them is a fool-proof system which helps weigh the vehicles on the move. The final product is the result of months-long hard work of these students. The other three of the group are Amal Premarajan, C Vaishnav and P Amalraj.
Overloading is a major reason for accidents, said Arjun. It also results in causing damage to the vehicle, especially heavy vehicles that carry loads. “But we do not have a proper technology in our country to check the weight of the bus or the lorries. Though weighing bridges are there, it cannot detect the weight of the vehicles when they are on the move. Our product is a complete solution for all,” he said.
VODS technology uses load cells to detect the weight of the vehicles. These cells are attached to the chassis and the platform of the vehicles and once the vehicle is loaded it sends its reading to a programme-encoded chip. The chip will then check whether the load is more than what it is predefined. If so, the vehicle will start making an alarm and its engine will stop in 15 seconds. The vehicle will only move when the load on the vehicle is below the predefined measure.
“We have designed it in such a way that a warning sign is displayed to the driver. The screen would display the permitted weight and the weight with the load. A secondary display on the exterior will show the same detail to the passengers or workers who are loading cargo or goods on to the vehicles,” he said, adding that the warning display shows ‘Overload detected. Engine will turn off in 15 seconds’ with an alarm.
Arjun said the cost for fixing the VODS system varies according to vehicles. For example, for a tipper with a carrying capacity of 4.9 to 49 tonnes, it needs four load cells. Four load cells cost `1.28 lakh. And additional fitting will take the total cost up to `1.5 lakh. “Though this amount sounds exorbitant it will be very profitable in the long run keeping in mind the damages caused due to overloading,” he said. He added that once the government makes it mandatory for all vehicles to have a VODS technology similar to the speed governor, it will help in reducing many accidents.