In March of this year, six members of a family in Coimbatore fell into the canal and drowned. Because the car crashed into the water, it was difficult to open the door under the influence of water pressure, so the people on the car could not escape. In other words, opening the door is not advisable because the car will sink faster. This principle also applies to safety hammers on some high-end cars.
To overcome this problem, students from the City College engineering program designed a system that allows the car to automatically open the roof after it falls into the water. The project was completed by SSN Engineering students and consists of three main components – the sensor, the microcontroller and the roof opening mechanism. Six water pressure sensors are mounted on the outside of the car, four in the corner and two on the sides.
One of the designers, B Vishal, explained that once the car begins to sink, the sensor signals the microcontroller to activate the mechanism to open the roof. In order to prevent the roof from opening when it rains or the road area is watery, they install two load sensors above the car suspension ring. The buoyancy levels are different when the car is on the ground and in the water. Once the car begins to sink, these load cells record the difference in buoyancy levels and send a signal to the microcontroller.
Neil Ashwin Raj, another team designer, said, “The design can be integrated by the car company at the time of manufacture, and it can cost Rs 15,000 to make the necessary modifications to install it on existing cars,” he added. "The modification will not affect the appearance or aerodynamics of the car."
According to the designers, these sensors are strong enough that they won't be damaged even if the car heads down into the water. The center of gravity of the car is in front, and it can remain vertical even if it falls into the water. The designer simulated the system. In addition, they have recently successfully installed the system on the Maruti 800 and conducted a real-time evaluation.