Home Cover Story Vehicle Connectivity Fast-Tracked

Vehicle Connectivity Fast-Tracked

Vehicle Connectivity Fast-Tracked

Keeping drivers safe, comfortable and entertained is the essence of this rapidly growing future in auto sector. India joins the race to fast track connectivity developments.

Indian auto sector is at the cusp of dramatic changes, triggered by development in third emerging market, accelerated acceptance of new technologies, business sustainability initiatives by the government and changing consumer preferences.

Almost every new product launched in the country is equipped with increasing automation, inbuilt diagnostics and connectivity features through technology-driven trends in the automotive sector. In fact, use of connectivity to ensure passenger and vehicle safety, better vehicle performance, achieving best-in-class fuel economy and emission compliance is fast becoming a standard norm.

Even more transformative change is on the way. Global competitive intensity will rise as Chinese players expand from their vast domestic market. Governments are examining the entire automotive value chain and beyond with an eye towards addressing externalities.

Automobile industry is currently growing rapidly with an annual production of over 4.6 million vehicles at an annual growth rate of 10.5 per cent and vehicle volume is expected to rise greatly in future.

market trend – Surging

Sanjay Puri, Founder, AutoNebula says, “We have seen slow and steady growth of electric vehicles in India and foresee more companies focusing on connected transport solutions with an enabled Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud-based solutions for data analytic and prognosis solutions.”

According to a new market research report “Connected Car Market by Connectivity Form Factor, Connectivity technology, Application and Geography-Trends & Forecast to 2014-2020”, the global connected car market is expected to reach $46.69 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 10.82 per cent from 2014 to 2020.

IoT market size is estimated to grow from $157.05 billion in 2016 to $661.74 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 33.3 per cent from 2016 to 2021. “According to a market report the market for Telematics in India is expected to cross $150 million over the next few years. According to Research and Markets, a market research store, the M2M market in India is set to grow at a CAGR of 33.81 per cent by 2016. All industry verticals are undergoing a huge transformation in a bid to move towards affordable, accessible, and quality services to their customers,” says Ashish Gulati, Country Head, Telit India.

New applications and use cases, a result of cutting-edge technology innovations, are being developed to address the changing industry needs. During the next five years, the proportion of new vehicles equipped with this capability will increase dramatically, making vehicle connectivity a major element of the IoT.

“According to iSupply, the BRIC region has the fastest growing auto industry, when compared to other western countries, and the percentage of vehicles embedded with Telematics technology is expected to reach 46 per cent globally by the end of 2018. Yet, development of Telematics is still at a nascent stage in the BRIC economies,” adds Gulati.
Vehicle connectivity market is still at very early stages in India. As per official records, there are over 18.3 crores vehicles in India. Saurav Arora, Co-Founder, I’m Here (A unit of Meridian Tracking Pvt Ltd) says, “As per our estimates less than 5 per cent vehicles would be enabled with vehicles tracking solutions at present. And, with increased need for safety, transparency, efficiency and cost control this would increase many fold.” The technology has been existing for many years but now it’s available at affordable cost.

Progressive Empowering

People today are accustomed to constantly having access to new apps. The main purpose of a car is to drive it. Infotainment systems must not be perceived as intrusive and they cannot compromise other safety-critical functions in the car. Gulati comments, “People may not be able to leave all the driving to their car yet, but they certainly will, within the next decade, especially in developed world like Europe and the US. That’s because car-makers are developing a variety of new technologies that will make cars far more digitally connected and safer than they are now.”

In India, the potential benefits are huge: Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) connectivity among vehicles on the highway could reduce traffic accidents and deaths. V2V connectivity can enable platooning which can help trucks reduce fuel usage by as much as 30 per cent, thereby not only cutting costs but also reducing emissions.

Sanjay Gupta, Deputy General Manager, Tata Motors says, “As far as Tata Motors and Vehicle Connectivity is concerned, we recognised quiet early that the new connectivity space is developing not only in terms of automobile but also in terms of IoT. IoT talks about connecting different platforms such as gadgets and technological innovations into a network that independently talk to each other with an interlinked intelligent system which syncs their operations and functionality.”

Tata Motors recognised this opportunity and took an initiative of launching its own programme on vehicle connectivity. Connectivity has prevailed globally in the communications space. In India, commercial vehicle connectivity has existed for over 10 years now, making it consumer friendly.

Witnessing the advantages of superior connectivity, onlookers will certainly be investing in the new trend. According to Gupta, Tata Motors is definitely anticipating expansion in large numbers encompassing all vehicles which will inevitably improve efficacy with advanced connectivity.

Puri says, “There will be a need of well-defined cyber security policies and trainings conducted to build in awareness in OEMs, vehicle integrators, supplier and startups to build solution using best secured coding practices as well as need to define policies for aggregation and sharing of diagnostic data, and the connected transport data will need to be integral to the insurance systems for formulating various schemes to ensure easy technology adaption.”

Gulati shares, “If we look at the new On-Board Diagnostic Trend, also called OBD II Vehicle Diagnostics, it allows managers to remotely monitor vehicle performance, engine malfunctions and driver’s behaviour to improve vehicle reliability, security and reduce costs.” In the US, solutions based on OBD like dongles have become the preferred option. The driver simply connects the dongle to the OBD connector. These Telematics-enabled dongles are relatively cheap with no installation cost. In addition to a standardised series of Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs), which allows one to rapidly identify and remedy malfunctions within the vehicle, modern OBD implementations use a standardised digital communications port to provide real-time data. “All new business models are emerging, which are likely to change the way we view car ownership and even driving it in the coming years,” excerpts Gulati.

The vehicle connectivity market would grow exponentially. Arora says, “The government is already taking steps with Smart City, Smart Municipality, Smart Transport and passage of Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2016.”

Policies Drive R&D

The policies and programmes of Indian Government have also played an important role in stimulating the R&D efforts of the industry. Apart from providing fiscal and monetary incentives for firm-level R&D activities, the government is playing an active role in the development of common R&D infrastructure. In 2005, the government along with industry players launched an initiative for the establishment of world-class testing and certification facilities, along with nine R&D centres under the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Development Project (NATRiP) (GOI 2006a). Moreover, all the governments globally, including India, have a target to fulfill to reduce emissions as per the treaty and this is also playing a major role to ensure successful implementation.

Start ups encouraged

Telit is a member of the most significant groups and organisations in the IoT/M2M industry. Together with other technology leaders around the world, Telit combines efforts to make a connected future happen. This can only work with universal standards, mutual security efforts and shared know-how.

According to Gulati, automotive is one of the core segments of Telit and of particular importance to the company. He says, “We not only develop modules specific for this industry but ensure that the highest quality standards are observed from R&D to manufacturing and logistics, completely meeting automotive requirements.” To guarantee total adherence to these quality standards, Telit has a dedicated team spanning R&D, sales and support whose job it is to know and help to navigate the challenges faced in integrating M2M into cars, trucks, buses, and other automotive platforms. “Our modules are specially designed and cater to all two- and four-wheeler vehicles, including trucks and buses,” Gulati adds.
Puri comments, “We have been successful in empaneling startups with diversified interest in connected transport space which includes aggregation, data analytics, parking, alternative fuel, algorithm development, driver behaviour pattern analysis, infotainment, Telematics, prognosis and logistic streamlining solution providers, and will be catering to two- and four-wheeler vehicles as well as trucks and buses.”

Arora shares, “We are seeing people opening to shared mobility and increasingly using such options. We are engaging with companies offering these services and offering solutions which can give better transparency to their end customers.”

Innovations Panorama

Telit has its revolutionary and innovative automotive product range UE910-EU V2 Auto, ATOP 3.5G, GE910-QUAD AUTO, GE864-QUAD AUTO V2, LE920 AUTO Series, HE920 Auto Series which it provides to OEMs, automotive companies, logistics and supply chain companies, transporters, etc, for use in vehicle Telematics and its convergence with other positioning technologies and emerging innovative technologies.

Telit on its part has entered into a multi-faceted collaboration with Tech Mahindra on developing complete solutions for the IoT. This relationship is centred on combining and integrating Telit’s leading portfolio of IoT products and services with Tech Mahindra’s unmatched system integration expertise and strengths in developing end-to-end enterprise solutions. Both companies are also jointly pursuing new business opportunities across many markets and industries, such as IoT horizontal and IIoT around the world. Additionally, Telit has reached an agreement with Tech Mahindra to outsource related engineering development and testing activities.

AutoNebula has built an exclusive connected transport incubator-cum-accelerator initiative to attract the entire automotive ecosystem which includes suppliers, dealers, consumers, process and technology integrators and solution providers to work with AutoNebula as partners, mentors and also investors to the startups. Puri states, “We have built a good relation and rapport with a couple of MNCs and have conducted multiple meet-ups to provide network support to our startups with investors, mentors and OEMs. We had a very successful conference on Connected Transport held in January and have been appreciated by Angel Groups, OEMs and technology solution providers, and seek our curated startups to work with them.”

He adds, “We are helping our startups and interfacing them with appropriate international ventures or providing them market connects to help them grow their traction.”
AutoNebula has worked out a well-structured incubation program using PASSION framework to ensure startups focus on lean methodology to run their operations. Particularly, the company is setting right expectations to seek investments and not get into mindless valuation exercise to safeguard investor interests as well as benefit entrepreneurs simultaneously and even promoting research and training initiatives.

“We are building a network and expanding to cover the length and breadth of the country. We need more channel partners to take this solution and reach the masses. We currently have service support available in 36 cities,” Arora explains.

Role of auto components

Auto component suppliers will need to upgrade their manufacturing systems and gear up to new technology adaptions to improve design capabilities. There is a possibility of integrating the existing systems with IoT solutions to analyse wear and tear of components through appropriate sensors. Puri says, “We foresee a huge requirement of sensor and clean energy solutions and support to monetise the emerging vehicle connectivity concepts.”

According to Arora, the Auto Component Suppliers would play very important role and they are definitely engaging with the OEMs/Auto companies for the same. Some of the established players are also encouraging new companies and partnering with them through incubators, etc.

safety is Paramount

Connected vehicle technology aims to solve some of the biggest challenges in the transportation, specially in the areas of safety, mobility and environment. Gulati shares, “The safety application for Intelligent Transport System (ITS) is one of the main objectives in this project. Safety application is a research and industrial initiative which aims to contribute to the global advancement of automobile industry.” Telit has a module HE863 M2M which enables connectivity in the next-generation AXON Intelligent Vehicle Interface. AXON-connected fleets allow a wide range of corporate entities to minimise fuel and maintenance costs by collecting and responding to real-time vehicle information via cellular networks.

Puri explains, “Connectivity can help avert accidents; provide vehicle-to-vehicle communications; predict wear and tear of automotive components, driver behaviour analytics; and driver and car scores will help insurance companies to come up with new schemes to provide protection to human as well as vehicle.”

Furthermore, users can get real-time credible information about the traffic and weather conditions on their smart phones and laptops before they undertake the journey. This will help users to better plan their entire trip, reducing congestion and increasing transportation efficiency. With real-time anonymous data being collected from such a large pool of users, the mobility of vehicles within cities will be dramatically improved. Users will be notified immediately about any sudden events in some parts of the city that could affect the traffic, and will have alternate routes suggested for faster transit. These are just some of the fundamental advantages that connected vehicles can deliver. In reality, the benefits will be innumerable. “This technology could eliminate traffic woes and provides crash warnings, proximity alerts, blind-spot alerts and many other benefits,” adds Gulati.

He highlights an example: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5.6 million crashes in 2013. The number of fatalities from vehicle crashes is falling but still accounted for 32,719 deaths. Connected vehicle technologies will give all drivers the tools they need to anticipate potential crashes and significantly reduce the number of lives lost each year.

Gupta adds, “Safety is one of the most important application of telematics worldwide. There are numerous ways in which connectivity can contribute to the safety of a vehicle; for example, we have provided functionalities such as over speeding alerts. An operator can set a speed limit on a vehicle. If a speed limit of 100 km per hour is set, any vehicle exceeding 100 km per hour throws an alert to the speed operator.”

Tatafleetman offers various other safety mechanisms that can prevent accidents. It also offers lifesaving functionalities such as; night driving alerts, harsh braking / sudden braking alerts, sudden acceleration alerts and sharp turns alerts. These are measures that can be applied by speed operators through the use of telematics.
The most important ways according to Arora is that if the vehicles are connected with vehicle tracking systems and if the person’s phone is not reachable thentoo the family members would know about the whereabouts instantly and trace the location whenever required. This is applicable to passenger vehicles and also public transport vehicles buses, taxes. Panic Buttons are being made compulsory on public transportation.

The second important measure in safety aspects according to Arora is that if the vehicle is stolen, then the chances of recovery increase to a great extent. There have many cases of successful vehicle recovery in both passenger and commercial vehicles and trucks.

Customers’ expectation

According to Puri, “Customers are interested in adapting new technologies. Government is also making all attempts to promote Make in India, international collaborations, introducing startup-focused policies and promoting more incubators to be set up in India and there will be a felt need to replace old technology with new ones. We foresee a surge in requirements of IoT engineers, automotive subject matter experts and customers will be willing to pay the right price for technology interventions in automotive space.”

Telit gains a competitive edge by enabling new services and improving customer satisfaction. Connected cars mean integration with entertainment, traffic and navigation information and advanced features such as remote diagnostics and maintenance, safety and emergency assistance, fully automated parking, lane-changing warnings, lane-keeping systems, collision, warning devices, emergency calls, and automatic braking that prevents the car from running into an object. Gulati adds, “Consumers heavily favour the purchase of a vehicle based on its in-vehicle technology options. For example, 39 per cent of drivers surveyed said their primary consideration in choosing a new vehicle is in-car technology.” Automotive being one of the sectors Telit focuses, the company’s Automotive Telematics On-board Platform (ATOP) has all the functionality needed to enable a variety of OEM connected car applications, such as emergency road rescue, anti-theft tracking, road tolling, vehicle data analysis, remote analysis, remote control, search & navigation and route planning. Telit with its automotive modules, cements a long-term relationship with its customers across the globe.

Active & passive connectivity

Puri states, “If server allows data channel to be opened, active connectivity is possible, else it will be passive connectivity for a client to communicate with server.”
Gupta says, “Small and large vehicles have different sets of customers with different sets of utility requirements. As of now, the connectivity of Telematics is largely derived by TataFleetman which operates large vehicles.” Globally, the current implementation of Telematics gravitates towards medium and heavy commercial vehicles/larger fleet sizes.


According to Gupta, the biggest technical challenge faced in India is related to telecom connectivity. Connectivity is an inherent and critical component of telematics. The reason we are emphasising on connectivity is because the whole platform and functionality is dependent on the connection to the remote server. The data transfer between a vehicle and the remote server takes place over the internet through a telecom connection. The biggest challenge in India is that this telecom connectivity is not uniform. While travelling on highways between cities, vehicles enter telecom dark spots with minimal or no signal. This causes connectivity disruption.

Gulati says, “In India, despite a number of aftermarket solutions in the commercial vehicle space, the country does not have an integrated offering from the OEMs. Lack of basic infrastructure and reliable connectivity are some of the other challenges for India, and so the need of the hour is to get started off and fixing all the major issues.” In spite of the challenges, the vehicle connectivity market in India is expected to leapfrog exponentially in the coming years with a host of solutions/services and revenue models which would be at par with the west.

With companies like Tesla and others working on making driverless cars, it would not be a surprise where we see driverless cars with the next decade or two. “However, there are various security, safety and policy related challenges which need to be overcome before this becomes a reality. For example, in Europe, according to the Geneva convention, the law states that ‘no vehicle can be on the road without a driver behind the wheels’. Such policies need to be sorted out before self-driven cars become a reality,” explains Gulati.
Vision 2020

Gulati explains, “According to Gartner, by 2020, there will be a quarter billion connected vehicles on the road, enabling new in-vehicle services and automated driving capabilities. About one in five vehicles on the road worldwide will have some form of wireless network connection by 2020, amounting to more than 250 million connected vehicles.”
Connected vehicles could soon pick up information from your phone, enabling them to suggest routes based on your calendar appointments and act as a general digital assistant. Whilst a world of connected vehicles which warns one another of an impending crash or traffic jam, and act upon this information, may still be a long way off, a focus on connectivity will help cars progress from a transport tool to a daily assistant, sooner than expected.

Arora shares, “Our Vision is to offer simple solutions which when applied in new ways, will have powerful results creating products that can make a happier, safer, efficient world. We believe the future is to connect things, people and even cars like never before. We aim to become one of the top five players in the country in Telematics in India.”
“There would be a growth in electric vehicles, and above all, there will be well defined security policies laid out for connected transport with more demand and usage of electronic enabled automotive spare parts and vehicles,” Puri concludes.

Data carriers on wheels

Increased connectivity paves the way for new applications and services for handling performance, vehicle management, logistics, and automated driving. Continental will be presenting several examples of this at this year International Motor Show Commercial Vehicles (IAA Commercial Vehicles) in Hanover. At Stand A06 in Hall 17, visitors can explore how the ContiPressureCheck system monitors the pressure and temperature of all tyres consistently, even while driving. This saves fuel and reduces the risk of a flat tyre. The dynamic eHorizon, a sensor system that supplies vehicles with real-time information, creates even more potential savings and provides additional safety. This allows the handling performance to be adapted to the current traffic situation in good time.

Advantage eHorizon: It is estimated that trucks with eHorizon have saved nearly 300 million litres of diesel, or around EUR383 million, since 2012. The sensor system uses highly accurate topographical route data and a GPS signal to provide the control units in the vehicle with information about the route ahead. These then adapt the driving style and speed automatically. Continental is continuously developing this successful series product. The final stage of expansion, the dynamic eHorizon, is a highly accurate information carrier that is always up to date. In the real-time information, it even takes into account dynamic events such as weather, accidents, or traffic jams.

ContiPressureCheck: The day-to- day stress experienced by drivers often distracts them from keeping a constant eye on tire pressure. The ContiPressureCheck system can help. It uses sensors inside the tyres to monitor the pressure and temperature of all tyres on the vehicle continuously, during travel and in real time. The data are recorded constantly and shown to the driver on a display. If the tyre pressure deviates from the nominal value, the system issues a warning immediately. This enables the driver to take instant measures to eliminate the problem and restore the tyre pressure to the normal value. The system therefore helps to reduce fuel consumption and tyre wear while at the same time increasing the service life. With increased efficiency and a longer tyre service life, the operating costs of the fleet are reduced. With a reduction in CO2 emissions, ContiPressureCheck also makes a positive contribution to sustainability. The continuous measurement of tyre pressure also increases the safety of the vehicles, as it reduces the risk of a flat tyre.

Source: Continental AG

As far as Tata Motors and Vehicle Connectivity is concerned, we recognised quiet early that the new connectivity space is developing.”
– Sanjay Gupta,
DGM, Tata Motors

Unique feature of OBD

  • OBD II is the interaction of smart phone’s with the on-board diagnostics tool that is built in all the models after 1996.
  • The OBD-II port allows developers to create an app that gives drivers feedback on how they drive, location of the nearest gas station, vehicle maintenance requirements and other critical parameters.
  • As the market rapidly grows, users will adapt to this technology and will require more content, and a perfect experience every time.
  • It was somewhere in the mid 2000s that some of the passenger cars in India started coming with OBD II.

We have seen slow and steady growth of electric vehicles in India and foresee more companies focusing on connected transport solutions.”
– Sanjay Puri,
Founder, AutoNebula

We not only develop modules specific for this industry but ensure that the highest quality standards are observed from R&D to manufacturing.”
– Ashish Gulati, Country Head, Telit India.

We not only develop modules specific for this industry but ensure that the highest quality standards are observed from R&D to manufacturing.”
– Ashish Gulati, Country Head, Telit India.