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Driving India into the new mobility era

Murali Gopalan | Updated on March 10, 2018

Power trio The Intel, BMW and Mobileye tie-up might act as pioneer and set the right standards for the industry and it will help technology become efficient and drive innovation

Kavitha Mohammad

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Intel’s Kavitha Mohammad dwells on the tie-up with BMW and Mobileye

It was barely a couple of months ago when BMW, Intel and Mobileye announced that they were teaming up to make self-driving vehicles. This marked the coming together of three top guns to ready the iNEXT as the global foundation for BMW’s autonomous driving strategy.

“The agreement is one milestone in a long journey,” says Kavitha Mohammad, Director, Industry Solutions Group, Public Sector, Intel, Asia-Pacific & Japan. Intel, BMW and Mobile Eye are creating a platform where data can help make decisions on behalf of the owner. This requires a lot of computing power and intelligence which needs to be standardised.

As Mohammad says, carmakers are looking at data generated to get customer insights as the next big currency. “Everyone wants a piece of this action right from OEMs to dealerships. To make sense of that data, you need a platform that can control everything from the door locks to the data centre,” she adds.

How can a vehicle immerse itself in that environment and provide data that is useful to the owner? In the Indian context, car insurance is perhaps an example where once creation of personalised (insurance) packages “would be very powerful and encourage people to be more responsible on the road”. Likewise, continues Mohammad, a connected car moving from Kerala to Tamil Nadu can have a sensor fitted which has the capability to talk through GPS back to the data centre. This will come in handy for issues on interstate tax.

In short, there is a lot of value to be derived from this platform which has the data and gives the right insight to OEMs, insurance companies, dealers and customers. All this will drive a lot of value added services and efficiencies in the system.

According to Mohammad, the Intel, BMW and Mobileye tie-up is important because it might act as pioneer and set the right standards which industry is looking for. It will help technology become efficient and drive innovation.

Moving on, Mohammad says there are different phases in connected cars beginning with electromechanical safety like airbags and brake systems. The next step is in-vehicle infotainment “which is something like a software-defined cockpit in a car” and mostly to do with entertainment and information.

In the West, the gradient has shifted to information like lane departures, parking assist and so on. “We are probably just about to catch that curve in India with carmakers announcing huge investments,” says Mohammad.

At Intel, the India focus will in all likelihood be on IVR (interactive voice response) while slowly moving to the next phase of adaptive cruise control, emergency braking and lane keeping like in the US. To that extent, this is akin to scratching the surface before moving to the next big thing in autonomous driving. Of course, this will depend on a host of variables which are specific to India like its infrastructure and traffic conditions.

Mohammad concedes that autonomous driving is still some years away in India. “You need to control cattle on the road and violators sometimes come head on in a one way road. How will things work unless you have the infrastructure to think driverless and keep these variables in check?” she says.

Yet, the silver lining in the cloud is that things are changing with more people taking pride in technology. “Most of the next population wave is working in our benefit and are between 20 and 40 years old. For them, it is about the environment, social service and giving something back to the community which means this attitude would extend to autonomous driving as well,” believes Mohammad.

Leapfrogging of technology also happens to be the fastest in India because its demographic profile supports early adoption. “We take pride in being tech savvy and people care about the environment. I am hopeful attitudes will keep pace with changes in technology,” she says.

Published on September 15, 2016

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