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Connecting India’s connected cars – part 2

June 14, 2019

Amit Sachdeva   

Global Head - Business Development, Alliances and Partnership Strategy, Mobility & IoT

Tata Communications’ Amit Sachdeva discusses the growing industry of connected cars.

In part one of this blog, I evaluated the significant growth of the connected car industry in India in the last few years and the potential for further progress in the future. There are key factors contributing to the expansion of automotive IoT, and important elements to consider for production and commercial success without regional restrictions.

Government policy is helping to drive vehicle connectivity

From April 2019 onwards, all public transport vehicles in India will have to be fitted with a tracking device and emergency call button. This far-sighted and enlightened initiative is part of the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) programme, which was launched by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).

The ITS has several objectives, focusing around the need for better control over transport efficiency, quality, comfort and safety.

“The overall aim is to create a safer, smarter transport system by adopting technology for the benefit of society as a whole.”

The ITS incorporates the Automotive Industry Standard (AIS-140). This standard applies to state-owned transport companies, private bus operators, emergency services, schools and colleges, and car rental companies. Interestingly, private taxi operators and car-share organisations are also affected, and it’s possible that compliance with the regulations may become an issue.

All these organisations will be required to have an embedded SIM (eSIM) technology in their vehicles. eSIMs are tamper-proof, virtual SIMs which can receive over-the-air (OTA) updates and upgrades. They can be re-programmed remotely to work over any mobile operator’s network in India or any other country.

Enabling borderless growth

The commercial opportunity for all kinds of players in the connected car market does not stop at the border of India. An important feature of India’s automotive market is that around 12% of car production each year is destined for the export market.

Vehicle connectivity has become a key topic for all manufacturers and across all geographies. While regulation drives demand in some circumstances, there is also an increasing commercial imperative for automotive manufacturers to provide services that can be broadly categorised under the headings of security, analysis and infotainment. The former category includes vehicle tracking, AIS-140 compliance and driver assistance services. The analysis includes remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance services, and infotainment includes location-specific services, content streaming and related marketing activity.

“To provide such services automotive manufacturers working on connected car projects need to ensure their vehicles can be easily and securely connected, whatever country a vehicle is sold and operated in.” 

This requires a reliable and consistent approach to multi-country mobile connectivity, something that Tata Communications has made a significant investment into over the past two years.

The Tata Communications MOVE global mobility platform enables vehicle connectivity at home and abroad. It provides the network-independent, cross-border cellular connectivity Indian car makers need, to deliver connected car services for both home and export markets. It takes care of the global connections, including last mile cellular and radio access, so the automakers can concentrate on designing and building engaging connected services for their customers.

Our work in this area is a good example of private sector alignment with the objectives and requirements of the ITS and AIS-140 initiatives. We look forward to working with Indian automotive OEMs and telematics companies on this exciting journey.

Read about the growing industry of connected cars in part one of this blog.