MG Motor today revealed the Hector, its first product for the Indian market. Along with the exterior design, the company partially revealed its interior design and connectivity features.
The MG Hector is one of three different overseas versions of the Baojun 530 from China. It is recognised from its unique honeycomb grille and the twin-pod headlights. At the rear, it is differentiated from the other three models (Baojun 530, Chevrolet Captiva and Wuling Almaz) with a wide reflector strip connecting the tail lamps and featuring chrome garnish. Then, of course, there are different brand and model name badges.
One of the MG Hector’s key USPs is its suite of connectivity features, and those are centred around the iSMART Next Gen infotainment system. It has an embedded Machine to Machine (M2M) eSIM that is 5G ready. Leading telecom operator Airtel is the service provider for connectivity. The brain of the system is housed in a large 10.4-inch full HD head unit.
Thanks to the eSIM, the MG Hector is the first locally manufactured model to offer OTA (Over The Air) updates like on smartphones and tablets. It will periodically download new look and themes for the screen, latest maps and other new infotainment content. The data related to the driver and vehicle analytics will be uploaded to a Microsoft Azure cloud data centre.
An ‘E-Call’ emergency calling feature will make accident situations much less fatal. In case of a condition where airbags are deployed, an E-Call is automatically triggered and a message via the connected system is transmitted with the exact location, to a response team at MG’s 24x7 customer centre called ‘Pulse Hub’. Pulse Hub is useful not only for emergency service but also for concierge services, via ‘I-Call’.
The MG Hector features a cloud-enabled, AI-based voice assistant that responds to “Hello MG” and can take over 100 different voice commands, including functions of the sunroof, climate control, windows, radio, music, navigation and more. Built by Nuance, the voice assistant has been trained for understanding Indian English and will enhance over time with AI enabled Machine Learning.
The MG Hector’s infotainment system features embedded maps and navigation solution from TomTom. In fact, it is the first receiver of TomTom’s ‘IQ Maps’ worldwide. IQ Maps use AI to automatically update the parts of the map that are most relevant to the driver. The maps of the areas where the driver frequently drives are given priority while updating.
IQ Maps automatically detects when relevant updates are available. The downloading and installation is done using the cellular connection of the vehicle in the background. There’s also an option to download maps via Wi-Fi or download them on phone via Wi-Fi and transfer to the vehicle later.
MG Motor will offer an iSmart mobile app to remotely control various functions of the Hector, such as pre-cooling, find my car, geo-fencing, etc. The company has embedded AccuWeather weather and Gaana music apps into the infotainment system, and it will offer Gaana premium subscription for free.
The MG Hector will go on sale in India in the second quarter of this year. It will compete with the Tata Harrier and Jeep Compass.