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Smart Cars: Are We Future Ready? Last year, Tata Motors sold 47,000 connected cars. Mercedes-Benz recently partnered with Google and Nvidia as part of their smart car experience. Nissan Motor developed Nissan Intelligent Mobility, a suite of advanced technology, where cars can think, communicate, learn, predict, recharge and do it all. Auto companies are coming up with advanced technology that paves the way for a harmonious smart experience

By Shrabona Ghosh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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In 1886, Carl Benz applied for a patent for his 'vehicle powered by a gas engine', this may be regarded as the birth certificate of the automobile industry. A Century later, the automotive industry had already witnessed an evolution, fast forward to 2023, and we are in the era of smart cars. So, what is a smart car? Smart cars are equipped with advanced technology and in simple words enable you to control aspects of the vehicle from your phone or other smart devices.

Recently, Mercedes-Benz partnered with Google and Nvidia to take smart cars to the next level. "We have partnered with Google for their new product called Google Places and Nvidia for an autonomous driving experience in level III and level IV. With respect to smart cars, we have been working on APIs for several years, partnered with other OEMs to build a holistic smart ecosystem," said Balaji Sethuraman, vice president, Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India.

"Mercedes has a spate of new capabilities, several of them centered on app integrations for its MBUX infotainment system," he added.

Automakers have placed renewed focus on their in-car experience to compete more closely with other trendsetters. With this partnership with Google, Mercedes-Benz will be the first automaker to build its own branded navigation experience based on new in-car data and navigation capabilities from the Google Maps Platform. Additionally, it is bringing more robust integrations from TikTok and other third-party apps into its vehicle systems to give customers a holistic experience of 'smartness'.

Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor developed Nissan Intelligent Mobility, a suite of advanced technology, where cars can think, communicate, learn, predict, recharge and do it all. Electrification, autonomous driving, shared services and connectivity, this is how Nissan defines its smart cars. "Recently we did a pilot project in the UK, where brands backed by Nissan and the UK government participated. With a special focus on autonomous driving, we collected connected data on driving behavior and these data serve as a preventive measure in the way we maneuver with cars. Around the world, we have deployed projects, including Japan, where similar operations on connected cars and autonomous driving are going on," said Mohan Wilson, director - marketing, product & customer experience at Nissan India.

So, how are companies maintaining data security when it comes to harnessing such humongous numbers? "We are working with engineers in the back-end system to ensure data is protected as it is of utmost priority to us," Wilson added.

Technology plays a key role in defining the future of business, customer experiences and product or service behaviors of the agile automotive enterprise. This will allow vehicle manufacturers many opportunities for delivering personalized customer journeys both in and out of the vehicle: To address these market opportunities and to accelerate customers' journey in the connected vehicle space, TCS has developed Autoscape, a connected vehicle solution. This suite of solutions offers onboard and offboard automotive expertise – from Cloud and software development to user experience and analytics – along with focused business advisory services.

"Today, the need for mobility is separated from the need for ownership, the new generation of people has different priorities. In this redefined concept, software plays a critical role. If we segregate a vehicle into data and experience, we can see a whole lot of innovations: Data allows subscription and usage-based models and experience allows customization of products. The digital product enables the need for mobility and meets the other criteria too and the thrust of our work is around these software-defined vehicles," said Sreenivasa Chakravarti, vice president - IoT & digital engineering, TCS.

Autoscape provides the scalability and security needed to build the connected vehicle as a digital experience platform. The solutions provide personalized customer experience in and out of the vehicle and enable data monetization opportunities derived through analytical insights. They also provide a comprehensive toolset for managing customer consent for data collection and facilitate the sale of data through a digital subscription platform.

Last year, Tata Motors sold 47,000 connected cars and based on the user experience data, the company is understanding how these cars are behaving on Indian roads and taking measures to improve them. When it comes to smart features, Tata Motors believes in giving its consumers a unique experience. For instance, during the pandemic, it developed additional features which made the customers feel safe. "During the pandemic, we introduced many special features, one such feature was an additional air purifier system inside the car. When it comes to smart features we tend to work with a very frugal mindset and keep working towards developing products that the time needs," said Mohan Savarkar, vice president at Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles Limited.

Well, when it comes to connected cars, smart manufacturing also plays a key role. Technology company Continental is driving the industrial transformation characterized by digitalization by not only further developing its business but also fundamentally changing it and expanding its base. "We see Industry 4.0 and the associated smart applications and services to have the potential to become even more innovative and agile and to continue to help shape tomorrow's mobility in the key industries. Smart manufacturing, industry 4.0 and all the principles embedded in industry 4.0 help to create the innovative manufacturing journey," said Phanindra Karody, plant manager at Continental Bengaluru.

As we advance towards uncharted territory, several new, exciting possibilities await. Auto OEMs must strive to naturalize the process of software incorporation with updates. A paradigm shift to a Cloud-first approach, similar to mobile phones, will be critical in providing a harmonious experience.

These comments were taken on the sidelines of the Autotech stage as part of Tech and Innovation Summit organized by Entrepreneur India.

Shrabona Ghosh


A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 

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