India's first Internet-Connected SUV, launching in June

Indias first Internet-Connected SUV, launching in June

  • MG Hector Compact SUV will be released in India this June
  • The car connected to the Internet will come with a series of smart features
  • MG Hector will receive OTA software updates, just like our smartphone

British automaker MG Motor has unveiled its NextGen iSMART platform that will debut in India with the MG Hector, its next compact SUV. The company introduced the smart car platform on Tuesday at a media event in Delhi and said the MG Hector will be the first car with Internet access in India with features such as OTA software updates and more. Built in partnership with a large number of companies that made their appearance at the event, the smart car platform will be one of the big highlights of MG Hector, and possibly give it an edge over the competition like Jeep Compass and Tata Harrier.

Explanation of MG Hector's smart car platform

Taking centre stage in the MG Hector will be the main unit with a touch capacity of 10.4 inches and a voice-based assistant. Developed by Nuance, the company says Voice Assist is designed specifically for India and is trained to understand the Indian accent.

Activated with 'Hello MG', Voice Assist in MG Hector will comprise more than 100 commands that will allow you to do things like open and close windows and sunroof, control air conditioning, navigation and more. As expected, the wizard, which is optimized to work even in poor network conditions, will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve over time.

The main unit, which will come with a certain amount of preloaded entertainment content, has a user interface that is optimized for portrait (vertical) orientation. The unit is designed in such a way that it can endure extreme temperatures, the company further added.

The power connectivity for the MG Hector will be SIM incorporated, using a solution developed by Unlimit in association with Cisco and Airtel. The Internet-enabled SIM card will also ensure that Hector will receive software updates by over-the-air (OTA) as a modern smartphone.

Navigation in MG Hector will be driven by TomTom and, unlike most integrated navigation systems; your maps will be involuntarily get updated without the need to visit a service centre, thanks to the aforementioned Internet connectivity.

The iSMART mobile app on your smartphone can give you information such as the location of the car, the tyre pressure and even tell you if you forgot to close the doors (and if so, close them with a tap). You can also turn on the air conditioner remotely, a feature that will surely become a favourite soon. The application will even allow owners to schedule a service for their MG Hector and track the car's service history.

Other features include the ability to geographically fence your MG Hector, so you can not remove it from a predefined zone. The platform will also be able to analyze your driving style and give you data points that will help you drive more intelligently.

There are also other safety and convenience features, such as the eCall emergency response system that can alert emergency contacts and/or appropriate authorities in the event that the car's airbags are deployed. A helpline that will take you to nearby restaurants and other services will be available to MG Hector customers with a touch on the giant touch screen.

"The integration of the Internet with cars opens up a gamut of features that can ensure a seamless and updated ownership experience for MG customers in India," said Rajeev Chaba, President & Managing Director, MG Motor India. "With an embedded SIM card and OTA, the MG Hector promises to do a lot more over time with constantly-expanding capabilities, to create a seamless driving experience, throughout the life of the car."

The company added that it plans to use leverage technology to also improve the car buying experience.

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