Tata Motors today announced the strategic tie-up with Microsoft for implementation of their cloud computing and other technologies in their passenger vehicle segment. The first unveil of this vehicle will happen at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show on 7th March, 2017. The company had recently announced the unveil of their first sports car, the Futuro on the same date at the same venue. This is a mild indication that the company would introduce this Rs 25 lakh sportscar with Microsoft enabled functionalities such as telematics, advanced navigation with real time traffic updates, predictive maintenance and remote monitoring features.
Although, there is no official statement from Tata Motors on this, but, considering the two products are being showcased on the same day, it is safe to assume that the Futuro would be the first car from Tata Motors featuring this technology. That said, Tamo “will act as an open platform to foster innovation through a startup ecosystem and develop vehicles with 'on-the-go' connectivity”, as per a recent press release. Adding Microsoft Azure to an affordable sportscar would mean that this technology would reach more customers without entailing a high initial cost.
The Azure is Microsoft's cloud computing technology that recommends points-of-interest, route assist recommendations and shopping points etc based on a user's location. Other features of the Azure include service reminders, updation of key vehicle settings remotely and many other features for a user on the move. Although the Azure technology was showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017, a production-ready version is yet to be witnessed. The Futuro could be the one to showcase this technology and once in production, features aforementioned would enable users to have a proper digital eco-system in their cars thereby enabling the consumer to operate most of their functions as well as get all the information on a hand-held device.
The Futuro will be powered by the Revotron 1.2 litre engine, but, in this sports car, it will generate over 150 hp of power. In addition, the weight of the car will be around 700 kg which would result in an impressive power-to-weight ratio for a car that would cost Rs 25 lakh. This weight shedding would be courtesy of using aluminium and carbon fibre. Although, Tata would produce only 250 units of the vehicle, what is baffling is getting all this technology at an affordable price would be a challenge, knowing that this technology would also include Microsoft's cloud platform which, in a limited production car, would cost relatively high.
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The last example from Tata which, according to the company, would be the cheapest four-wheeler passenger vehicle was the Nano. This was supposedly going to be a car that would be the cheapest car in India, however, as the project moved forward, the cost of producing a car that would be affordable without cutting corners made it difficult for the Nano to be priced in the said range. The Futuro is a product that would bring about a new, fresh face of the company, but it also has to shoulder the responsibility of being in an affordable price bracket with all the said technology.