Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The humble auto adapts to a changing customer profile

Rather a pompous title for a simple, short post. ;-)

Anyone noticed how autos that carry children to school have changed ? It is really interesting to note the ways in which auto owners have adapted their vehicles to this role.

When we were kids, autos which ferried kids to school had a thin wooden plank opposite the main seat in order to accommodate a few more kids, while the rest stood in between the main seat and the wooden plank. Nowadays there is a wooden plank on the luggage area behind the main seat too, so even more kids can be accommodated, though what this does to the stability of autos on sharp turns I shudder to imagine ! So that school bags do not take up precious sitting space, these are hung from hooks at the back of the auto, on the outer side. And then often, the openings at the side of the auto have metal grills (grills, not the regular wooden rod) with a latch so that the little brats don’t fall out.

Am quite impressed with the improvements in this humble, everyday vehicle. Anyone got any more such examples to share, I’d love to hear about them.


Entropy said...

In re. stability of the auto, if you assume that each child weighs about 60 lb (think 6 year olds), the auto driver is about 130 lb (think skinny), assume that the height at which all the kids are is about 4 ft from the wheels, the wheels are 5 ft apart, and all kids are modeled as point objects, did you read this far, and the auto turns a corner at 25 kmph, then you may be able to come up with something if you knew the weight of the autorickshaw.

Rohit Grover

Entropy said...

should have known better than to mail something like that to an engineer !

:-) i almost flunked mechanics in first sem. and am sure my low rank in JEE was due to physics questions - spider falls on rod form x height, this is length of rod, spider fell on point y metre from centre blah blah blah yuck yuck yuck.

just solve the auto stability question for me.


Entropy said...

So I did some simple calculations, and yes your concern is valid. If there were 8 children in an auto, then the top speed at which it'll start tipping going around a sharp curve is about 25 kmph. I have assumed here that the wheelbase of the auto is 2m, the height at which the kids are sitting is 1m, the kids are point objects of 40kg weight each, the auto is about 600kg, and the auto driver is about 80kg and sitting at 1m. Also assumed that the radius of the curve around which it is going is 5m.

Throw in a pothole or a stone in the road and you have real trouble.