Sitis collaboration launch
Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Transport and Highways from the Indian Government, and Swedish Minister of Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth sitting closest to the new Sitis agreement. They are surrounded by representatives from the collaboration partners. Chalmers representative Sinisa Krajnovic, Director of Transport Area of Advance at Chalmers standing third from the left. Photo: Magnus Granström

New Swedish-Indian collaboration on traffic safety

​Every year, more than 150,000 fatal traffic accidents occur in India. Chalmers University of Technology is now entering into a new collaboration between companies and institutes in Sweden and India, as the sole Swedish academic party. The collaboration will improve traffic safety and provide the basis for new innovations and knowledge exchange.​
On Thursday, 20 February, a collaboration agreement was signed to mark the start of Sitis, the Sweden-India Transport Innovation and Safety Partnership. This agreement brings together leading Swedish and Indian companies and institutes in a long-term and global cooperation.

“The aim of this collaboration is to become a prominent platform for applied research and innovation in the area of safe and sustainable transport,” says Chalmers President Stefan Bengtsson, and continues:
“Traffic safety is an urgent and immediate concern in all parts of the world and is also critical in driving a nation’s prosperity. We are now very happy to enter into a bilateral partnership that will address key traffic safety challenges in India and Sweden.”

The collaboration's outlines have been worked out over the past year, with Chalmers involved from day one. Both overall content and potential individual projects have been discussed. For Chalmers, the Sitis partnership is similar to an agreement with China, the China-Sweden Research Centre for Traffic Safety, which was signed in 2012.

Different strengths

Through Safer – the Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre at Chalmers – which brings together 35 parties from academia, industry and society, Chalmers has extensive experience of collaborations in the field of traffic safety. Magnus Granström, Director at Safer, points out that both Sweden and India have high capacity to develop technology, concepts and solutions. But the competence lies partly in different areas. Sweden is globally renowned for work on traffic safety, while India has a strong IT and computer science sector.

“Chalmers can contribute with, for example, knowledge on intelligent transport systems, artificial intelligence and cyber security, road safety research and knowledge of how to establish test beds. These are strong areas for us,” says Magnus Granström.
“We see a clear advantage to having a platform for cooperation with Swedish companies and institutes around challenges in India. Chalmers already collaborates with several of the parties involved through the Safer competence centre, and with Sitis in place we can now further develop these collaborations. The agreement also allows us to find new Indian parties to work together with.”

A new set of challenges

India is a huge and fast-growing country, with considerable gaps between the high and low educated, and major challenges in the transport sector. The Sitis partnership will build a deeper understanding of road safety in the country. This also provides insights into the core challenges of other fast-growing economies with similar problems, and potential solutions can be developed.
“We will be able to benefit from learning the needs in a country so different from ours, in terms of both culture and infrastructure. How is a transport system developed in such a country? How do they serve the population with freight and passenger transport? These questions need to be answered in order to build a sustainable and prosperous society,” says Magnus Granström.

FACTS: Sitis, Sweden-India Transport Innovation and Safety Partnership
Sitis was launched in Stockholm on the third global conference on road safety within the UN. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Transport & Highways in India, and Tomas Eneroth, Swedish Minister for Infrastructure, were present, as well as CEOs and senior management representatives of various Swedish and Indian companies, academia and research institutes. Sinisa Krajnovic, Director of Chalmers Transport Area of Advance, signed for Chalmers.

The members of Sitis are all leading in the traffic safety area. Members are:
• The Volvo Group (initiator of Sitis)
• Autoliv
• Ericsson
• Manipal Hospital
• Altair
• Saab
• Tech Mahindra
• India Institute of Science (IISc)
• Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Program
• Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (TRIPP, IITD)
• Chalmers University of Technology
• Rise
• ARAI
• Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)

The partnership will also collaborate with the Vision Zero Academy at the Swedish Transport Administration and Niti Aayog, National Institution of Transforming India.

Text: Mia Malmstedt
​Photo: Magnus Granström, Rana Prathap, Pixabay

Published: Fri 21 Feb 2020.