Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) and Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to raise the level of vehicle safety via R&D in the aspects of vehicle safety, road users and infrastructure.

Through the MoU, both parties will have a strategic cooperation in R&D activities, the development of capacity, the development of standards, and the publishing of research in fields such as motorcycle safety, next-generation vehicles (NxGV), components and critical spare parts.

“Since the establishment of MARii in April 2010, MIROS and MARii have worked together to research ways to improve road safety from the aspects of vehicles, road users and infrastructure. The results from the research will be used as the base to form and developed national-level strategies and policies,” said MARii CEO Datuk Madani Sahari.

“For carmakers, they can enjoy more advantages via the Customised Incentive scheme offered by the government if they fulfil the set criteria. This initiative is capable of detailing the safety and environmental aspects to support the development of sustainable tech,” he added.

The organisations say that MARii will contribute its expertise in the development of technology, especially in the field of NxGV for the development of the NxGV Test Bed in Cyberjaya.

Meanwhile, MIROS will share its expertise in developing “scenario setting” for traffic conditions and real-world Malaysian driving simulation. The parties will also work together to shorten the accident reconstruction analysis period using a MARii-developed computer system.

“Among the projects identified is the development of a star rating programme for motorcycle safety (MyMAP) and also NxGV,” said MIROS director-general Khairil Anwar Abu Kassim. MyMAP is a new motorcycle safety programme akin to ASEAN NCAP for cars. The MyMAP bike safety scope includes suitability, the adaptation of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) regulations and the promotion of safety tech such as ABS and traction control.

MARii says that with MyMAP, motorcycle buyers will be able to make a better choice, especially in terms of safety, which is the most important aspect.

On the topic of standards, car safety standards in Malaysia may be higher than in some of our ASEAN neighbours, but we’re still behind the developed markets. Never mind AEB, ABS is still not mandatory for all new cars, and so is stability control (ESC was supposed to be mandatory by June 2018, but no updates since). Isofix child seat mounts are also not compulsory, and neither is the use of child safety seats.

However, it must be said that the carmakers – especially those at the budget end – have been pushing the envelope when it comes to safety kit and today, even entry level models like the Perodua Axia and Bezza can be had with ESC and AEB. Not to be scoffed at as until very recently, some new German premium cars did not ship with autonomous emergency braking.