Posted on October 03, 2014

Qatar Petroleum’s Research & Technology Centre recently took part in the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) & Road Safety Forum in Doha, said Gulf Times. 

The three-day event was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Interior and carried a strong message of traffic safety in Qatar and the systems implemented to keep citizens safe on the roads. The QP Research & Technology Centre (QPRTC) started a project on the tyre safety of passenger vehicles some two years ago under the directives of HE the Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada. The project is in line with Qatar National Vision 2030 to show a social responsibility towards the country’s citizens. 

Currently, Qatar’s energy & industry sector in Qatar employs more than 120,000 people, with more than 55,000 working in the oil and gas industry, representing a large percentage of road users in Qatar. The remit of the project was to investigate the role that tyres play in fatal car accidents. In order to cover all aspects of tyre safety, QPRTC collaborated with the Texas A&M University and Williams Advanced Engineering for studying local conditions and available statistics, and comparing those to international standards and statistics. 

Project results to date show that, in general, approved tyres by the manufacturer provided with vehicles are of a good quality and there is no evidence to show that these tyres play any role in fatal car accidents in Qatar. However, some off-road tyres declared as illegal for import by the Ministry of Environment are still in use. These cheap “sand” or “balloon” tyres are low-pressure tyres made of nylon and linked to multiple fatal car accidents on public roads during 2012 and 2013.

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“Our research showed that ‘balloon’ tyres completely change the handling dynamics of a 4x4 vehicle and negate most of the safety elements manufacturers build into their vehicles. Due to a significant increase in the profile (height) of the vehicle, it becomes unstable, especially during cornering or when taking evasive action. Stopping distances are increased by a dangerous margin and handling on wet roads is almost impossible using the balloon tyres,” said Dr Nicolaas Traut, who heads the Tyre Safety Research project.

“QPRTC is pleased to be involved in this project and we hope that the results achieved will ultimately save some lives. The project is now in its final stages and we will issue a report containing all research and study results on completion,” said Dr Nasser al-Mohannadi, manager, QPRTC. As part of the Tyre Safety Project, Williams Advanced Engineering designed a road safety simulator that is unique in the sense that it can simulate various types of tyre failure such as punctures, worn tyres and blowouts in both wet and dry conditions.

The simulator will be used in QPRTC until the completion of the project, and then incorporated into the HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) Department of QP for advanced driver training, thereby promoting safer driving for the QP community. The simulator  was showcased at the ITS & Road Safety event and managed by Engineering Solutions on behalf of Williams Advanced Engineering.

“At Engineering Solutions, we focus on providing our clients with the highest quality products, services and care. Qatar Petroleum is a key customer in the area of research and road safety, and continuously pushes the boundaries of technological advancement. We are proud to be selected as a partner of choice and will continue to support Qatar Petroleum with their advanced driving simulator through various enhancements and customisations,” said Max Renault, business director at Engineering Solutions.