2020 has been a hard year for everyone, but a particularly painful for the automotive industry. But adversity also stems innovation - and the auto industry has grudgingly adopted some technologies that it should have been for years.
- Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay: Android Auto and CarPlay have been around for a while, but almost every car on the road needs a wire to enable it. That's ridiculous in 2020. You get smartphones that cost less than ₹15,000 that offer capabilities more car infotainment systems should have. Heck, these features have been around on third party solutions for a while -- but finally, looking at new cars like the Nissan Magnite, this feature is coming to life.
- Air Purifiers and virus protection: This one was a long time coming but perpetuated by the excessive pollution in North India and the the pandemic has meant that most cars south of ₹10,00,000 come with robust Air Purification systems that are also coupled with virus protection on cars like the Kia Sonet and also oxygen boost features like on the new Hyundai i20. This is sure to make life a little more breathable.
- Democratisation of smart car tech: 2020 also witnessed a revolution with regards to smart car tech coming in the hands of the masses. Geo fencing, telematics and remote access features which were earlier exclusive to premium luxury cars, are now available for most cars sub ₹10 lakh -- in fact, these features are now even available on hatchbacks like the new Hyundai i20.
- Larger Touchscreens: One of the best trends in 2020 has been the adoption of higher quality, and larger touchscreens as the main hub of the car infotainment system. These screens are responsive, they are larger -- ranging between 7-inches and 10.25-inches on vehicles like the Sonet and i20 and also having more touch points which make them easier to use. This trend is coupled with digital instrument clusters where knobs are replaced by the screen cleaning up the dashboard and making the interface more dynamic.
- ADAS tech: Talking about premium SUVs and 360-degree spatial awareness, the MG Gloster pushed the limits of driver assistance systems and level 1 autonomous tech. The Gloster becomes the first car of its price to have an automated collision assistance system, driver fatigue system, automatic emergency brakes and even a lane assistance feature which is found on cars above its tier. It features aren't the most refined but the fact that it brings the financial barrier down for these systems bodes well for the auto industry as a whole.