With an illustrious automotive legacy dating back to 1924, the iconic Morris Garages brand has always been at the forefront of making cars for the future. In 2019, the brand entered India with its connected car offering, MG Hector. Since its debut in June 2019, MG Hector has become one of the most popular SUVs around. The MG Hector makes the future real today with its connected car technology, imparting a significant, positive CX, with drivers enjoying a hassle-free, smooth, and smart driving experience.
The five-seater MG Hector with its overall length of 4,655mm is a real bold and unabashed style statement. It is undoubtedly a visually stunning premium SUV that is significantly larger than others in the competition. For instance, the seven-seater Kodiaq from Skoda is a mere 40mm longer! One of the biggest attraction of the MG Hector, besides the connected car tech, is the incredibly generous panoramic sunroof that it sports!
What really makes the MG Hector remarkable is not merely its design and styling, but rather the iSMART Next Gen technology, an all-new advanced connectivity system, at its core.
The iSMART Next Gen technology
The iSMART Next Gen technology enables the connected car experience by bringing together enhancements in software, hardware, connectivity, services and applications that make driving a significantly better and smarter experience. In developing the iSMART, Morris Garages or MG leveraged the power of industry-leading partnerships, tapping global technology companies, such as Unlimit, CISCO, Microsoft, TomTom, Nuance, Gaana, and Adobe, among others.
The MG Hector has an embedded M2M sim that enables IoT devices, systems, and sensors to continuously communicate with each other. The customized solution has been developed by Unlimit, Reliance Group’s IoT division, in association with Cisco and Airtel. While Cisco has provided support through its IoT Connectivity Management platform Jasper for the telematics suite, Airtel has supported MG with its telecom network support. MG Motor claims the connected mobility solution on the MG Hector is Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPV6) ready for 5G.
But, what is an eSim?
The GSMA’s Embedded SIM or eSIM provides a single, de-facto standard mechanism for the remote provisioning and management of machine to machine (M2M) connections for automotive companies over the air to vehicles, with an operator of their choice. The eSIMs are able to deliver navigation, infotainment, care, telematics, and remote diagnosis.
The iSMART Next Gen is operated through a large 10.4 inch, full HD vertical display touchscreen from CISCO, that provides all the infotainment, and allows one to manage all vehicle settings via voice or touch.
The voice assist system on the MG Hector has been powered with AI and ML algorithms by Nuance keeping India and its myriad languages in mind. When “‘Hello MG” command is stated, the voice assistant in the MG Hector comes alive. With >100 commands, including opening and closing of windows and the sunroof, HVAC control, navigation and more, the voice assist system is claimed to work even under low network connectivity situations. This is made possible by the hybrid computing that MG adopts, which does away with the need to rely on only cloud-based information for functionality.
The iSMART app enables more than 50 features, and allows the owner to access driver analytics that monitors driving inputs. It also lets drivers plan trips on their mobile, with the information sent directly to the infotainment system for the route map and other crucial enables the driver share feedback with Morris Garages, and seek emergency assistance.
Beyond navigation, the other common use case of connected cars is infotainment. The MG Hector comes pre-loaded with an array of apps. Whether it be Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, the Hector enables one to connect their smartphone to the system to play music on the go.
By partnering with TomTom, Morris Garages has been able to offer real-time traffic updates, and automatic updation of relevant routes. For instance, MG has brought Gaana‘s music service on board the MG Hector, and apps such as AccuWeather to provide weather forecasts.
Thanks to the over-the-air (OTA) downloads function, similar to the one in smartphones, the software is regularly updated, enabling high customer satisfaction.
iSMART Mobile Telematics App
The iSMART Mobile App on MG Hector, complements the iSMART system, by providing owners with access to real-time data on the location of the car, tyre pressures, and even enable geo-fencing to prevent burglary and keep the SUV within pre-defined zones. The app uses driver analytics data and is hosted on Microsoft Azure Cloud.
The geo-fencing technology on the MG Hector ensures a new level of security. By leveraging GPS, the geo-fencing tech enables consumers to define digital boundaries for their car. In the event of the car going beyond the pre-set perimeter, an alert is generated and shared via the iSmart Next-Gen App.
Using this app remotely, owners can lock or unlock the car doors, turn the ignition on and start the AC system – a feature which will be beneficial for the harsh summer conditions
Lastly, the PulseHub provides owners with the ability to schedule a service for their Hector, seek emergency assistance 24*7, and keep track of its service history.
eCall for Safety
For a connected car, safety is also paramount. The eCall emergency response system on MG Hector notifies MG’s customer management centre (named Pulse Hub) in case of an unfortunate accident. When airbags are deployed, messages are sent to the Pulse Hub and registered phone numbers, and a series of emergency response actions are triggered instantly. The iCall offers MG users with a single touch option to connect with the Pulse Hub for any information or assistance.
Magnet dealer management system
For the MG Hector, SAP has partnered with iTelligence to build MG’s Dealer Management System – ‘Magnet’, and connected apps. This system brings together information from the company, dealers, service centers, and customers in one place. This will enable customers to access services at the company’s dealerships and service centres.
All said, the MG Hector is a confident and bold debut that takes pride in its glorious legacy, and yet seamlessly delivers the promised IOT-enabled connected future, today.