MTEC-NSTDA recently announced the successful development of lateral underrun protection device (LUPD) and rear underrun protection device (RUPD). The press conference was participated by NSTDA and MTEC executives and Mr. Jakkrit Tangjaitrong, an automotive engineering expert of the Department of Land Transport (DLT).

NSTDA President Prof. Dr. Sukit Limpijumnong said that as the national science and technology agency, NSTDA aims to employ knowledge, tools and expertise in science, technology and innovation to promote the national economic and social development. LUPD and RUPD unveiled today are prime examples of practical and accessible solutions that will enhance the quality of life and strengthen Thai auto parts manufacturers. They are the results of long-term collaboration between MTEC-NSTDA and the Department of Land Transport to improve road safety. The design of these devices not only complies with international standards, but also takes into consideration the cost, manufacturing process and capacity of Thai manufacturers to ensure that they can be manufactured domestically. NSTDA Innovation Technology Assistance Program (ITAP) can provide assistance and funding to SMEs interested to improve their capacity to manufacture these devices.

DLT expert Mr. Jakkrit Tangjaitrong remarked that around 60 accidents taking place each year involve trucks undergoing rear-end collision or side collision and another vehicle or people sliding underneath and getting crushed. To ease this problem, DLT collaborated with MTEC to develop standards and draft regulations for side and rear protective devices that follow the UN regulations to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

MTEC Deputy Executive Director Dr. Kritdada Prapakorn described the scope of DLT-MTEC collaboration to enhance road safety. International standards on side and rear protective devices such as UN R58 and UN R73 were reviewed and applied to the drafting of Thai regulations. The team designed LUPD and RUDP that not only are strong and able to withstand an impact conforming to international standards, but can also be made with locally-produced materials and the manufacturing process can be taken up by both small and large manufacturers in Thailand. The devices must also be of acceptable weight and cost less than imported ones.

Dr. Sarawut Lerspalungsanti, Director of MTEC Engineering Design and Computation Research Group and the project manager explained that the research team worked with truck manufacturers in Thailand and DLT to understand problems and gain insights for the design development. The ready-for-production engineering design has been developed containing over 90 LUPD and RUDP designs. The engineering design has been uploaded onto the website for manufacturers and general public to access. Moreover, MTEC has also procured equipment for testing these devices to meet the UN R73 and UN R58 requirements.