Your car rides are set to get more and more hi-tech. Today, one can remotely start the vehicle, switch on or off climate control, open and close the sunroof and tailgate, and lock the door with just a few clicks. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, cars today offer a plethora of connected features for consumers like vehicle monitoring and remote diagnostics.
That’s not all. Some cars can understand Hinglish as well. MG Motor India’s smart car MG Hector Plus has more than 70 tech features, one of which is that it can understand more than 35 Hinglish voice commands. “The Hector Plus offers innovative solutions such as understanding more than 35 Hinglish voice commands, a first-of-its-kind feature. The command, ‘Hello, MG’, activates the in-car control system, enabling better, hands-free interaction between the owner and the car. The assistant adapts Indian-English pronunciation, and with Natural Language Understanding (NLU), it overcomes the challenges of understanding different accents like Indian-English and English accents,” explains Rajeev Chaba, president and managing director, MG Motor India. “The Hector Plus also comes integrated with Over the Air (OTA) technology (which provides updates on the go), enabling customers to update software/firmware, feature themes, and infotainment content seamlessly.”
MG Motor, which completed two years in the Indian market, describes the future of the automotive industry as CASE—connected, autonomous, shared, electric. “Manufacturers today are encouraged to be innovative as a result of ecological, social, and technological trends. We are on a mission to offer something more than engines covered with metal bodies. Our interest has always been in developing cars that are not just good on the road, but transfer an immersive customer experience with high-end technology,” says Chaba, adding,“CASE is MG’s contribution to advancing India’s automotive industry. The C in CASE stands for India’s first connected car MG Hector, A for the first autonomous level-I premium SUV MG Gloster, S for the subscription models in partnership with Zoom Cars and Myles, and E for pure electric internet SUV MG ZS,” says Chaba.
MG ZS is an electric vehicle that takes 8.5 seconds to go from 0 kmph to100 kmph, while MG Hector offers connectivity on the go with i-SMARTNextGen technology. The car accepts user commands from the i-SMARTNext Gen mobile app, which also shows the car’s location and the shortest route to it. The geofencing technology immediately detects if the car has left the perimeter preset by the owner, and alerts about it instantly. MG Gloster, which was launched in India in late 2020, has features like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and automatic parking assist.
“Technology disruption is a key priority. Like smartphones, our connected cars get a new-look screen and themes, new apps and new entertainment content from time to time as new updates are made available,” explains Chaba, adding, “Our long-term aim is to build an ecosystem to catalyse such innovations and not limit ourselves to unleashing advancements only in our products. Hence, we have partnered with Cognizant, Adobe, Airtel, SAP, TiE-NCR, and others for MG Developer Program & Grant, wherein we recognise, nurture, and incentivise promising startups in the auto-tech space. Since incorporation of MG India, we have mentored 100-plus startups.”
Talking about the role of technology in the automobile sector, Chaba says,“Technology has made cars less about horsepower and more about their computing power. Hence, our focus is to incorporate computers to take cooperative decisions in accordance with environmental data such as cruise control, engine temperature, temperature control, and so forth.”
Going ahead, MG is looking at increasing its reach. “We are expanding our retail footprint by proactively foraying into tier II and III markets. We aim to increase dealerships throughout the nation. Currently, we have 245 touchpoints across the country, which will be expanded to 265 by the end of this year. We also have several projects as part of our product lineup, including a mid-size SUV, which we will launch as per their respective schedules,” he says.