Interview with designer Anjan Cariappa M M (AC), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Saving Millions of Lives On The Road! Concept Warning System.

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Interview with Anjan Cariappa M M at Wednesday 18th of April 2012: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
AC : The idea for the concept came as a literal 'flash' while driving on the highway one day. This set me thinking as to how such a simple concept has been overlooked for so many years of the automobile. I was excited about the number of accidents that could be prevented with this simple system.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
AC : What got me seriously involved in the development of the concept is its ability to save lives. What could be more inspiring! I studied available data of rear end collisions and it was alarming. I thought that if this simple device could prevent just a fraction of these accidents it would be well worth it. I also see a lot of commercial potential for this concept since I am looking at targeting every automobile on the planet in the long run.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
AC : I am looking at a three prong approach. First, I am trying to get a mandatory tag for the system. This is akin to the seat belt and air bag. My second approach is to collaborate with OEMs and the third is to approach individual auto makers. I am already working on this and have made some inroads into all three areas.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
AC : It took a few days to design and develop a prototype. Considerable time and effort has gone into the promotion of the product.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
AC : Like my other products, I intend to license this product to companies interested. This is the business model of my company Muckati, which is into concept and Intellectual Property development. We have already developed many other IPs in areas as diverse as media, automobiles and medicine.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
AC : PACA aptly stands for Predictive Alerts for Collision Aversion.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
AC : It's simplicity, low cost and super effectiveness! The philosophy of my design is "Keeping something simple is the most complicated". And then, this is an Active Safety System. A system that prevents accidents rather than reduce damage once the accident occurs I feel is more relevant and need of the day.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
AC : Yes! We have done a lot of testing using real world conditions and also on simulators. Various studies are being conducted to further prove the effectiveness of PACA-brake. In one of the studies, the test subjects were shown a video of a car driving on a highway but were not told anything about PACA-brake or its working. After an average of three deployments of the pre-warning of PACA-brake (Orange blinking lights before the red stop light) every test subject recognized that the orange blinking was a prelude to the red light or that the vehicle was slowing down. This possibly is due to the exposure of people to existing warnings lights in other areas such as traffic signals where orange/amber always preludes red or green. This establishes the very small learning curve required for the general public to adapt to the new safety system without involving any kind of extra training. Further, all the test subjects also recognized that if they were driving an automobile equipped with PACA-brake, they would voluntarily trigger the pre-warning well in advance before actual braking thus giving even more lead time to the driver behind (to react to a possible braking situation)

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
AC : I have promoted the system in many ways. The system was showcased at the prestigious "International Transport Forum" held at Leipzig Germany last year to very good reviews. I then thought I should apply for a very credible design competition that can give merit to our design. I found the A'Design Awards to be unique and apt with its strong judging methodologies and respect it has in the design industry.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
AC : We learnt a lot especially when trying to bring this system into the mainstream. We do face a lot of apathy from all quarters. Makes you really wonder if anyone is seriously interested in saving human lives. Cosmetic concepts seem to have a better chance at gaining manufacturers' approval than safety systems. What excited me the most about the A'Design Awards was the Preliminary Evaluation. I really thank the anonymous jury member who gave his/her advice to improve our presentation in various ways. This made us more confident in our outlook.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
AC : Yes. I would like to thank one and all who have been standing by us, supporting and encouraging us in various ways. People from the automobile industry, friends and well wishers, media and of course everyone at A'Design Awards. A big thank you to you all!