MG Motors is all set to make a comeback in India. They had a gala press conference last night and the who’s who of at least seven participating technology partners were present at the event. At the core lies the fact that the MG Hector SUV will boast i-Smart technology. This one is not to be confused with the Hero MotoCorp i-smart which is more of a start-stop system for motorcycles. MG’s i-Smart tech oversees the connected car technology and is part of their 10.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system unit.
The touchscreen system looks eerily similar to that of Volvo’s Sensus but a tad bigger. iSmart comes with embedded connectivity solution, maps
and navigation services, voice assistant, pre-loaded infotainment content,
emergency and concierge service. Pre-loaded video content has been added to this system and it can store 10 videos at a time. Now, lets delve deeper into each of the things offered with this system.
Gaana app premium membership
Every owner of the MG Hector will have a premium membership of the Gaana app. This will give them ad-free music as well as personalised song lists. Not only this, the customers, over a period of time, will get OTA updates to the playlists. So, no more plugging your phone for playing the songs.
TomTom IQ maps
TomTom has partnered with MG for providing its IQ maps. These maps understand the driving patterns and locations. This way, they provide OTA updates first to the specific regions frequented by the driver and thereon to other not-so important areas. This helps the driver detect if there is traffic on his regular route or even an accident. Moreover, it helps the driver locate the nearest petrol bunk or even his favourite restaurant.
Airtel sim card
An embedded Airtel sim card is part of the deal. The initial few years subscription to the same will be on MG Motors India. This SIM module is 5G ready and ensures that the car is always connected to the Pulse Hub.
It is essentially MG speak for their call centre. This 24×7 enterprise ensures that MG car owners don’t feel stranded or left out in case they need assistance. If an accident were to happen with an MG car and airbags deployed, the Pulse Hub will first try and contact the registered driver’s phone number. If there is no response or if the driver doesn’t cancel the call, the system will then contact the emergency number listed by the driver. Again, if there is no response, it will contact the nearby hospital services. The car location too will be provided.
Voice Assist system
Similar to Ok Google or Hey Siri, MG Motors will have a slogan for the AI voice assist in its cars. It will be “Hey MG”. The system has been tuned to recognise Indian accents and is known to adapt quickly to the tone of the driver. More than 100 functions can be handled by this system and some of them include opening-closing the sunroof, climate control settings, navigation and more. The best part is that MG says that there is a certain offline capability to it as well. What this means is that in areas of weak network connectivity, the system will still work albeit with limited functionality.
Magnet dealer management
This will help the MG Motors customers to locate the nearest service centres. MG says that initially 110 touch points are being planned with the first showroom to be opened in Delhi-NCR. There will be a transparency in service and customers will be informed the service costs before the procedure begins. All the spare parts suppliers too will know the number of parts in each MG workshop. This will ensure transparency at all levels.
The MG smartphone app will let you fix a service appointment, geo-fence the car, calculate driving habits and even remote start the car or airconditioner. Vehicle fuel level as well as service history and other real time updates too are available on this app.
The MG Hector SUV will be launched in India in June 2019. The vehicle will not have AWD or 4×4 capability but will come with three engine choices, two petrol and one diesel. MG will borrow the diesel powertrain from FCA and no points for guessing, it is the 2.0-litre turbo unit in use in the Compass and Harrier. The petrol engines will be 1.5-litre turbo units but one of the engines will also be coupled to a 48V mild hybrid system for better efficiency. MG will offer a choice of 6-speed manual transmissions as standard but the petrol will also have a dual clutch automatic.