Vehicle telematics solutions are witnessing an upsurge in the global automotive industry, and are at the forefront of the connected car technology. Motherson Invenzen XLab Private Limited (MI-XLAB) – a subsidiary of automotive component behemoth Samvardhana Motherson Group (SMG) – is riding high over the recent roll-out of its Rollr Telematics platform. Auto Tech Review caught up with Amit Upadhyay, Chief Operating Officer, Motherson Invenzen XLab Pvt Ltd, to understand more about its telematics solutions, the current vehicle telematics trends, etc.
The auto industry globally is witnessing an upward trend in telematics and the scenario in India isn’t any different, as OEMs are lining up plans to come up with best-in-class telematics offerings. Tracking is just one feature of telematics and its use cases are enormous, ranging from proactively detecting vehicle failures to electric vehicles to autonomous driving. Looking at the future, telematics will impact almost all vehicle touchpoints in one way or the other just like the world is witnessing the smartphone revolution, Upadhyay noted.
Telematics enables vehicle intelligence, beginning with connectivity. Once vehicle connectivity is in place, telematics can enable these innovative use cases even in the cloud, using advanced analytics. Vehicle owners in contemporary times are more empowered as they have the ability to connect their vehicles to different applications that offer features such as vehicle immobilisation in case of theft, alerting the owner of any unintended vehicle movement and location tracking. Such applications can also deliver vital vehicle information such as oil level, tyre pressure, water level, fuel, mileage information, and battery change alerts, he noted.
However, Upadhyay said in order to realise the full potential of connected vehicles, there is a need to put in place a complete ecosystem of service providers, which are driven around telematics data – including emergency services, repair services, dealerships, fuel services, toll-plaza integrations, etc. The complete ecosystem structure will emerge as more automakers and government regulations drive telematics adoption, he noted.
To answer many of the future challenges and opportunities, MI-XLAB recently introduced the Rollr Telematics platform. Rollr devices are equipped with an in-built prepaid and preconfigured telematics-grade SIM and all the data that is gathered from the vehicle as well as on board sensors is transferred to the Rollr’s servers in a secure/ encrypted way. The device transmits the live location of the vehicle and other data with a data refresh rate of 3 s and a low error margin, in terms of location accuracy. Rollr also maintains a complete history of where the vehicle has been plying along with other events that unfolded during a trip. The device also showcases the route taken by the car and the duration it took to complete that distance – all these information is available for end consumers in a smartphone app/ web app, Upadhyay stated.
Rollr devices are like a small computer with an internet connection and there are two sources of data – one from the vehicle itself and second from additional sensors installed on this device. Rollr provides information about the vehicle health such as coolant temperature, ambient temperature, battery health and error codes and their possible causes, from the vehicle. On-board sensors such as GPS and accelerometer provide information about vehicle location and driving behaviour, said Upadhyay, adding that the device is constantly gathering data and sending it to the server every time the vehicle is running and also notifies in case the malfunction indicator is on. Rollr also helps dig out more information about the engine of the car such as ignition/ misfire, speed/ idle controls, air-fuel control and transmission/ transaxle health.
Rollr also provides a report card of driving behaviour when a vehicle owner has driven for a substantial amount of time and distance, backed by a lot of statistics, which can help understand what a vehicle owner is doing right or wrong. Such data helps a vehicle owner to improve his driving style accordingly, Upadhyay said.
Upadhyay said Rollr is designed to support a variety of vehicles, right from two-wheelers to high-end luxury cars to heavy commercial vehicles, and this attribute differentiates itself from its competitors. The company’s devices meet all compliances and passes stress tests; longevity of solution can be guaranteed. It is a secure platform, and has no impact on a vehicle’s performance, he assured. The Rollr platform is designed from ground-up to provide real-time and accurate information. MI-XLAB’s Rollr Telematics platform has been tested on over 200+ vehicle models.
Upadhyay said automotive telematics going forward will witness enabling several new use cases such as emergency services, enhanced and proactive customers service. OEMs can leverage telematics to a large extent right from deploying it for their marketing initiatives to even managing their supply-chain in a more efficient manner.
On electric vehicles, Upadhyay said telematics will play an important role, in terms of managing the charging infrastructure and providing an accurate estimate of charge levels to predict the vehicle range. Some other advanced use cases such as high-definition mapping, traffic control and efficient routing will also be using telematics data, he added. Although Upadhyay believes the added cost of ownership of a telematics solution could be a barrier in India, telematics adoption will pick up, as more awareness is generated, which will bring costs down. Regulations such as AIS-140, if enforced properly, will enable increased telematics adoption as well as help in public safety and convenience, he concluded.
TEXT: Suhrid Barua