Connected cars gain traction in Indian market

Ayushi Kar Mumbai | Updated on July 16, 2021


The arrival of 5G networks could spur usage further next year.

Even though India is a nascent market for connected vehicles, automakers have managed to sell tens of thousands of connected cars already. MG Motors, which was the first to unveil its internet car, Hector, in 2019, has sold 62,569 connected car units in India so far in India. Honda, which introduced its connected car technology platform in its fifth generation Honda City in 2020 has sold 30,000 units. Tata Motors, which has built its own Connected vehicles platform (CVP) in 2020, provides connected car capabilities to Tata Motors’ entire range of vehicles. This, according to Rajendra Petkar, President & CTO, Tata Motors, is an industry-first “The total number of vehicles onboarded onto the CVP platform have been 1,55,000 out of which 1,20,000 are commercial vehicles, over 20,000 are passenger vehicles and more than 5,800 Electric vehicles” Patekar said.

A connected car is basically attached to the internet to provide a slew of services to make the life of the customers easier. By connecting the vehicle to the internet, technology can take over a myriad of functions in a car. These can include vehicle security, navigation services, and theft protection. In commercial vehicles, fuel efficiency or driver behaviour patterns can be studied by monitoring and analysing vast amounts of vehicle data.

Connected tech for commercial vehicles

On the B2B front, connected tech has especially seen adoption in commercial vehicles to reduce costs and improve efficiency. “In the B2B segment Telematics for Integrated fleet management are expected to accelerate connected tech adoption in commercial vehicles in India,” said Nathani from Capgemini Engineering.

Venkatesh Natarajan, Chief Digital Officer, Ashok Leyland, said, “ Our Connected tech platform iAlert has become a standard offering in our medium to heavy commercial vehicle segment since 2017”.Volvo Eicher has gone further to compulsorily incorporate connected tech capabilities into their vehicles sold since the onset of BSVI norms.

“The key driver was to minimise cost for our customers through maximising fuel efficiency, reducing uptime, analysing driver behaviour etc.,” said Vinod Aggarwal, MD and CEO, Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles. So far, they have sold upwards of 50,000 units of connected CVs since the launch of BSVI.

High-speed Internet

One of the key requirements for the functioning of connected vehicles is the availability of high-speed Internet. But with the commercial deployment of 5G yet to take off in India, analysts such as Khalil Nathani, Senior Director, Capgemini Engineering India, believe that India will remain two years behind international adoption of 5G in connected vehicles. For now, 4G LTE is likely to continue to carry the mantle for connected tech with the B2B market seeing faster early adoption, even as automakers push aggressively for connected tech as a product differentiator in the B2C space.

While global markets such as the US are likely to have mature 5G connected car markets as of 2025, OEMs in India remain tight-lipped about the developments likely to be in the 5G space. While the exponential increase in net connectivity can bring a slew of use cases in the connected car space, as 5G is yet to be deployed in India, Nathani from Capgemini believes that the first commercial deployment of 5G connected tech is at least two years away. “Globally OEMs are investing heavily into 5G and developing those capabilities, once the 5G network is well established in India, models with those capabilities will surely enter the market,” said Rajeev Singh, Partner, Deloitte India. Operators such as Airtel and Vodafone Idea connect cars to the Internet using 4G LTE.

Published on July 16, 2021

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