Connected cars in India have been getting more and more attention from the buyers in the recent months
In recent times, it has been found that a large majority of Indian buyers opt for vehicles with connectivity features. In fact, a recent study concluded that as much as 80 percent of Indian car buyers opt for tech-laden cars. Hyundai claimed to be the first automaker to offer connected car technology in India with the launch of the Venue compact SUV in May while this was soon followed by the launch of another internet enabled car, the MG Hector.
Luxury auto makers have long been planning launch of this technology. It was in 2015 that Mercedes Benz launched its COMAND Online System with cloud based app. Audi rolled out its myAudi Connect smart connected technology while BMW introduced Connected Drive services. Indian automakers have also toyed with these features and today Tata Motors offers connected car technology in its Nexon while the Mahindra XUV500 and XUV300 also get connected features. We take a brief look at connected cars in India.
Hyundai Elite i20, Venue, Aura, Creta, Verna and Tucson
Hyundai was the first mainstream automaker in India to introduce connected technologies in India. It’s AutoLink connected technology was first introduced in the Elite i20 and old Creta. It offered features such as engine start/stop, auto lock/unlock and all information related to maintenance, service and roadside assistance.
Hyundai now gears up for the launch of the 2020 Hyundai i20 which will get a more updated BlueLink connected car technology which is also seen on the new Creta, Verna, Aura, Tucson and Venue. This will include a total of 33 connected features out of which 10 will be India specific. The connected features are divided into 7 categories of Safety, Security, VRM (Vehicle Relation Management), Remote, Voice Recognition Services, LBS – Location Based Services and Alerts Services.
Tata Nexon, Nexon EV
2020 Tata Nexon compact SUV, launched earlier this year, gets several updates in terms of new exterior features, an updated BS6 compliant engine lineup, and more importantly, new connected car technology. On the Nexon, this is called iRA or Intelligent Real Time Assist. The Nexon is the first car from Tata Motors to receive this feature which includes geo-fencing, find my car via smartphone app, live vehicle diagnostics and vehicle crash notification.
The connected car technology obeys voice commands in Hindi, English and even Hinglish (Hindi + English) language. It also comes in with What3Words – step by step navigation feature. iRA is designed by Tata Motors specifically for the Indian users and caters to unique driving conditions prevalent in the country.
Ford EcoSport, Aspire, Freestyle, Figo and Endeavour
Ford calls their connected technology FordPass. Starting with the new BS6 compliant EcoSport, all Ford models will now be equipped with this technology which uses in built 4G data connection which will be offered free for the first three years. FordPass can be accessed via an app on the owner’s smartphones through which various operations such as start, stop, lock, unlock can be controlled.
FordPass app is categorized into four sections of Accounts, Move, Find and Guide. Accounts allows owners to book test drives for other Ford vehicles while Move offers real time vehicle information with regard to tyre pressure, fuel levels, odo readings and also permits remote start/stop and lock/unlock via the app. Find function lets owners find the nearest fuel station and other local places of interest along with Ford dealerships while Guide helps owners by calling up Ford Guide for roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown.
MG Hector, Hector Plus and ZS EV
Connected car technology on the MG Motor lineup in India is called iSMART. This was seen in the Hector launched last year with the Hector Plus and MG ZS EV joining in more recently. The iSMART connectivity app is based on a 4G network system offering 24×7 internet connectivity. MG Motors is the first to introduce Machine to Machine – M2M embedded SIM version 6, IPV6 ready for 5G. It also gets connected mobility OTA – Over the Air updates.
Users can remotely start the vehicle, switch on and off climate controls, open and shut sunroof, tail gate and doors while they can stay updated on the status of the car to ensure that the vehicle is in perfect health prior to every journey. Geofencing technology enables detection if the car has left a preset perimeter while Navigation, AccuWeather and SmartDrive Info are also a part of the connectivity features offered as a part of the iSMART package.
Kia Seltos, Carnival, Sonet
The Kia Seltos and Carnival receive UVO connected car technology which will also be seen on the soon to be launched Sonet compact SUV. UVO connect offers multiple smart features including remote engine start/stop and voice activated features. The automaker has now introduced an updated version with new features and updates.
The new voice assisted system ‘Hello Kia’ includes a wake up command, weather information, time and date, holiday information, cricket score, media control, navigation and climate control. Emergency assistance, roadside assistance and vehicle tracking and immobilization are also a part of this SIM embedded connectivity system.
Mahindra XUV500 and XUV300
Mahindra’s connected car technology is called BlueSense. One can find this on the XUV500 and XUV300. This is a bit basic specially in comparison to the ones seen on the Hyundai Venue and Kia Seltos as it offers basic features such as audio controls via a smartwatch, auto AC functions and vehicle related information.
Mahindra BlueSense also offers location based updates that include Locate My Vehicle, Find Nearest Fuel Stations and Share My Location. One can also access data like tyre pressure, parking location, emergency assist to call Mahindra Customer Car while the smartphone controls work on Wear OS allowing the user to control music.
Nissan currently offers NissanConnect services, powered by SiriusXM in the Kicks. This connected car technology will also make its way onto the new Magnite SUV planned for launch either later this year or in early 2021. On the Nissan Kicks, NissanConnect offers features such as geo-fencing, speed alerts, tow alert, location based services while it also offers service booking appointments at the customer’s most preferred service stations.
Jeep India offers connected car services via UConnect app on the Compass. Jeep’s UConnect software allows for users to control certain features in the car such as remote engine start and climate control. The infotainment system also supports over the air updates while UConnect also allows for start car, cancel start remotely along with flash the lights and sound the horn besides locating the car via Vehicle Finder.