Stability & Safety (S&S) Air-Bag to Power Two Wheelers

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Powered two wheelers (PTW) include motorcycles, scooters and mopeds. Motorcycles have recently had an increased popularity due to their being relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain as compared to cars. It is estimated that more than 180000 PTW users die annually as a result of road crash. The total annual medical and productivity cost associated with motorcyclist occupant fatal and non-fatal injuries is about $12 billion. Motorcyclists are less protected against road accidents than the car users. In a motorcycle there is far less on the typical PTW to protect the rider. PTW is not auto-stable and the rider is continuously acting to keep his/her equilibrium and control its trajectory. The absence of bodywork means that there is nothing to hold riders of a PTW on the bike in the event of a crash. Helmet and leg guard are the only protective clothing PTW riders have. Motorcycle accidents in U.S. causing fatalities or injuries involve 62% frontal collisions. Approximately 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, whereas for automobiles it is 20%. This is because automobiles have passive safety systems like seat belt, air-bags and even the body structure of the car protects the occupant during impact or roll over. In the past a lot of research and technology development related to automobile air-bags and seat belts have taken place in order to improve the safety of car occupants. It is estimated that injury rates of PTW occupants may increase by more than 65% if there is no research commitment to develop innovative safety systems.

A PTW suffers in comparison when considering vehicle characteristics that directly contribute to occupant safety. It is already a proven fact that installation of air-bags in passenger vehicles reduces the severity of injuries. S&S air-bag provides to PTW those auto vehicle characteristics through the employment of two safety air-bag systems to enhance the protection of the occupants of PTW in the event of a crash.
1) Driver safety air-bag system – An air-bag is mounted in front of the rider. This absorbs some of the rider’s forward momentum when the rider is likely to be thrown forward. This technology is well developed by Honda motorcycle industry.
2) Vehicle stability air-bag system - Two vehicle stability air-bags will be mounted on either side of the vehicle which will enable PTW to assume four wheel stability characteristics in the event of crashes. Vehicle stability air-bag system employs the same air-bag technology as the driver safety air-bag system. All the three air-bags deploy simultaneously.

The aim of this project is to design, develop and test S&S air-bag as a reliable and fail safe safety system for PTW which will keep the occupants safely restrained on the vehicle as well as keep the vehicle steady and stable on the road and slow it down in the event of a crash, thus improving control and stability for safety.


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  • Name:
    Sudhir Hoskere
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    Application of fracture mechanics is best when used to improve safety of humans
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