Microdots in vehicles to soon become reality in India
Last week, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways introduced a draft of proposed amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 in the context of microdots. This notification seeks to add the following sub-rule in the aforementioned Act: "The motor vehicles and their parts, components, assemblies, sub-assemblies etc. if affixed with microdot identifiers by the manufacturers shall comply with the requirements stipulated in standard AIS 155." Allow us to explain the ramifications of this draft rule - it paves the way for automakers to make use of microdots on any vehicle or even the components used within them so as to enable the company to easily track them in case they are stolen.
Before we discuss this any further, let's get the basics out of the way, shall we? A microdot is a polymer particle, measuring either 1 mm or 0.5 mm in diameter, that are etched onto vehicles or parts. Though they contain unique information that helps identify the vehicle's owner, they are neither visible to the naked eye nor can they be removed without damaging the asset. While microdots are decidedly not a new concept, they haven't been used in India owing to the fact that so far, the government has had no standards regarding these nifty little safety devices.
An ET reported noted that once the technology becomes mainstream in the country, the cost associated with this feature aimed at preventing theft of vehicles will come down to as much as a mere ₹1,000. In a country, where as many as 2.5 crore vehicles were stolen in 2017-18, this technology will have no trouble finding takers.
The report added that companies making this technology in India will have to use at least ten alpha-numeric characters, while the adhesive and the coating material used for the microdots will help ensure that the details are readable for at least 15 years after being etched on to the vehicle or component.
So, exactly how many microdots will be needed, you ask. Well, trucks, buses, and cars will have at least 10,000 microdots, with 70 per cent of them being applied and fitted to a minimum of five preset positions on the vehicle. Whereas, on two-wheelers, you can expect at least 5,000 microdots.: