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MG Motors unveils India’s first internet car technology iSMART Next Gen connected car technology for Hector ahead of June launch

MG Motor UK Limited (MG Motor) is a British automotive company headquartered in Longbridge, Birmingham, England, and a subsidiary of SAIC Motor UK, which in turn is owned by the Shanghai-based SAIC Motor. MG Motor designs, develops and markets cars sold under the MG marque.

MG motors was founded by William Morris in a garage called Morris garages in 1924.Chinese automaker Nanjing Automobile Group acquired MG in 2005. The group later merged with SAIC, China’s largest car manufacturer, in 2007.
MG motors is widely known for their sports cars, roadsters and cabriolet series serving British Prime Ministers and even the British royal family.

MG motors have seen great success thought the world in recent years and had become the largest importer of Chinese made cars into the United Kingdom and going on to sell 241,634 cars in 2018. Seeing the exponentially growing economy of India, MG motors like most other company decided to try their hands on the Great India market and thus inaugurated its first manufacturing facility in Gujrat in September 2017 and on 18th Feb,2019, Mg Motors opened doors to its new corporate office in Gurugram. The very next day to announcing the new Gurugram Headquartes, Mg motors announced British actor Benedict Cumberbatch as its brand Ambassador which is quiet odd because most of the time brand prefers some national known celebrity to catch eyes and ears of the target market.


Now let’s shift our focus to the BIG highlight of all, the latest addition to MG motor’s Indian line-up, dubbed as India’s FIRST INTERNET CAR – The MG HECTOR.

MG Motors on making this car a great success and to make it with all great features partnerships with Airtel, SAP, Microsoft, Cisco, Adobe, Itelligence, AccuWeather, Cognizant, Nuance, Unlimit, Ganna, Tomtom, Panasonic, Ismart.

Jut upon hearing these words gives a lot of confusion and thinking work to the brain as we’re used to hear about AI-controlled Self-driving cars which the Hector is not. So let’s break it down for you guys really quick.

An internet car is a car that has internet connectivity. Now as we all know that self-driving cars won’t be a thing in India anytime soon due to BAN ON USE OF RADAR SYSTEMS IN CIVILIAN VEHICLES in India which is the single most important component of self-driving technology, the MG motors as it seems tried to create a hype in the brains of potential buyers.

MG Motors Boasts that the Hector has been equipped with a 10.4” brain or control unit dubbed as iSmart Next Gen which essentially controls all the electronics of the car and will allow the user to control it all with just a touch or voice command which is truly impressive.

iSmart Next Gen – What it looks like…

The iSmart Next Gen unit runs a custom OS made by MG motors India itself and as said by the executives is built to withstand extreme Indian Climatic Conditions and comes pre-loaded with entertainment content.

The iSmart Next Gen connects to the internet via IPV6 protocols for 5G capabilities and is backed by Cisco and Airtel who have collaborated with their Jasper platform and telecommunication network respectively. This seamless connectivity enables the users to receive real-time software, entertainment content and application updates. Customers will be able to download the software updates immediately or schedule them for later, as in smartphones. The OTA feature would be standard in all MG cars enabled with iSMART Next Gen for connected mobility, starting with MG Hector SUV. YEAH you read it right, IT”S A SUV!!!

The MG Hector promises to do a lot more over time with constantly-expanding capabilities, to create a seamless driving experience, throughout the life of the car and with the advent of 5G connectivity in India, MG cars will have the potential to add new, breakthrough features to further enrich the car driving experience. The one thing I do truly expect these cars to have by means of the internet connectivity is the ability to patch up safety related factory issues (for example a fault in airbag deployment and crash detection system) in the car without being required to be taken to a service centre or being recalled to the factory at all.

The most stunning feature of the MG Hector is said to be its Voice Assist. It is said to have a powerful voice application that works on the cloud and head unit. Developed by Nuance for MG India, specifically designed for India for Indian accent learning. As a result of built in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, the system will learn and get better every day with usage. Activated with ‘Hello MG’, the voice assist allows over 100 commands, including opening and closing of windows and sun roof, ac control, navigation etc. and works even under poor connectivity.

The iSMART comes with pre-embedded and very relevant web applications such as TomTom navigation which gives a great user experience, Gaana(premium account included) and accuweather and all apps have been specially customized  for MG Hector’s large Head Unit.

TomTom Maps
TomTom Maps

The iSMART Next Gen is supported by the iSMART Mobile App which enables users to control the car remotely and even run diagnostics. The car gets scanned each time the App is opened, and information includes location of car, tyre pressure, or if the doors are locked or not. Owner can use the remote app to directly lock or unlock doors, turn on ignition and switch on the air-conditioner. This is very useful in extreme weather conditions of India. It would also allow owners to schedule a service and keep track of service history. MG car owners can locate their cars remotely and geo fence it, so the car cannot be taken out of a predefined zone, thus enhancing the safety of the passengers. The iSMART is hosted on Microsoft Azure Cloud providing impregnable cyber security for all data.

MG has also set up a customer management service centre called the Pulse Hub which enables eCall emergency response in all MG cars. If a car’s airbags are deployed under an emergency condition, automatic messages are sent to the Pulse Hub and the registered phones along with a series of emergency response actions that get activated instantly. MG hector also offers an industry first iCall. With just a touch on the Screen, driver is connected to Pulse Hub for a host of information services.

OTA (Over the Air) Updates

MG India is introducing the OTA feature for the first time in India. This will make sure MG cars get updated whenever new updates are available, similar to smartphones or tablets. Thus, the system would periodically receive a new look and themes for the screen, new infotainment content and updates to maps to keep them latest always.

Now moving away from the electronics of the car and talking about rest of it. The Hector, which draws inspiration from the biplane of the same name deployed by the Royal British Army, has its roots in the Baojun 530 Chinese SUV, and will sport a near-identical design as well. This five-seat SUV is expected to be plush and along with wide range of connectivity features it will get a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery as well as a touchscreen infotainment system and is Expected to be powered by the Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre diesel engine along with a 1.5-litre turbo petrol.

What’s the price one has to pay to get hands on one of these and when shall it go on sale? Well, it is slated for a public launch in June and could be priced in the range of Rs 18 lakh to Rs 25 lakh (ex-showroom) and the 5-seater SUV will go up against the Jeep Compass, XUV500 and the Tata Harrier in India.

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