At an event held in Bengaluru, Mahindra & Mahindra showcased the features and functions of the new age XUV 500 equipped with 'TechnoPak'. Mahindra has been a technological pioneer of sorts, especially after the launch of the XUV 500. When launched in 2011, the XUV 500 had many firsts for an indian car, including a touchscreen infotainment system and it was also the first indian car with Navigation.
The Mahindra XUV 500 was also the first indian car to feature static bending headlamps, mood lighting, ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and hill hold amongst others. With the XUV 500, Mahindra had set the bar pretty high, not just for its competitors, but also for itself.
As a result of that, Mahindra now has to outdo itself with every update of the car. With the 2013 update, Mahindra integrated the blue sense smartphone app, and an updated design. With the new age XUV 500 though, Mahindra took things to the next level, providing the best tech of any Indian manufacturer.
For the 2017 model year, Mahindra updated the XUV 500 with just a new colour and premium black interiors while the SUV remained the same mechanically. The major upgrades though, were from the tech department.
On April 19 this year, Mahindra upgraded the XUV 500 with what it calls, a TechnoPak. As part of the TechnoPak, the car features an EcoSense app, a connected apps feature, Android Auto and an emergency calls feature too. Mahindra showcased the aforementioned features.
The EcoSense app is a first-in-the-industry feature and was developed in-house by Mahindra & Mahindra. It is integrated into the Bluesense app, and is designed to encourage economical driving and make fuel-efficient driving habitual. The EcoSense app prompts the driver to shift gears at the right time, and warns against excessive idling and clutch overriding.
The Ecosense feature presents to the driver, an Ecoscore, computed based on the speed, gear selection, acceleration and deceleration, idle time and clutch override. The more economical the driving technique is, the higher the Ecoscore is.
The Ecoscore can then be shared via several social media platforms, enabling the green drivers amongst us to show off their scores.Drive summaries too are stored on the cloud server, enabling users to retrieve the data from Mahindra's WithYouHamesha portal.
The infotainment package on the XUV 500 also includes the Connected Apps feature, with a plethora of apps like Gaana, Criclive, Zomato etc, providing users with information on restaurants, movies, music, sports and even news, all while on-the-go.
Mahindra hasn't left safety out, and has equipped the XUV 500 with emergency assistance. In the event of a crash, if the airbags deploy, the emergency assistance feature would sense that it is a severe accident, and would call for an ambulance, alert Mahindra customer service, inform pre-selected phone numbers and send GPS coordinates out at the same time.
The Mahindra XUV 500 is equipped with Android Auto, making all Google services available to XUV 500 owners. This gives in-car access to Google Maps, Google Play, Internet Music, Internet radio etc.
All the apps can be controlled entirely by voice. Even the words on the screen can be read out by the speech engine, thereby reducing driver distraction to a great extent. However, there is an issue with these features - reliance on mobile phones and Wi-fi hotspots.
Connected apps, and Android auto require a wi-fi connection to function, and even the Emergency Assistance feature requires the user's phone to be paired with the infotainment system. However, Srinivas Aravapalli, Senior Vice President and Head of Product Development at Mahindra, speaking at the showcase event said that Mahindra is working on integrating mobile network connectivity into the system.
He went on to say that, the software upgrade with the aforementioned features can be installed in just an hour's time, on any top-spec Mahindra XUV 500 sold since 2015, at a nominal price (Just the labour cost for software installation). The Ecosense app will not be made available on an automatic gearbox-driven XUV 500.
Mahindra has come a long way in terms of technology, and can easily be termed as the most tech-savvy indian car manufacturer. The fact that most of this technology, including the industry-first, Global Environment Award winning Ecosense app was developed in-house by Mahindra, is a great feat indeed.