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Automobile maker Mahindra & Mahindra has joined the Google spearheaded Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), an alliance of vehicle manufacturers and device makers from around the world that aim to bring the Android platform to cars. The announcement was made at the recently held Google I/O conference in San Francisco.

Note that in January last year, Google had mentioned that it was collaborating with several automotive and technology companies like Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Ford and Nvidia< Parrot, Pioneer, LG, Alpine etc., to bring its Android platform to cars through the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA). Google said it was working with these OAA partners to adapt Android for the car and introduce new forms of integration with Android devices.

Mahindra mentions that as a part of the alliance it will integrate Android Auto in its flagship models of XUV 500 and Scorpio as well as other upcoming cars. The solution will offer users with smartphone and tablet connectivity with the infotainment system along with voice commands and access to Google Maps and other third party apps.

The system will also supported integrated controls like buttons on the steering wheels, to reduce distractions. Note that MapMyIndia also offers similar infotainment systems, however, integration at manufacturer level has certain advantages, like controls on the steering wheel. Additionally, integrating in a majority of the cars should ideally bring the price down for end users as compared to having to purchase aftermarket solutions.

As of now, Mahindra also offers a BlueSense app which lets customers connect their phones with their vehicles via Bluetooth.

Tech Mahindra IoT: Tech Mahindra, the IT arm of Mahindra Group, partnered with the software and system house of the Bosch group, Bosch Software Innovations to create an Internet of Things (IoT) Ecosystem to help drive innovative solutions for connected applications and enterprises in September last year. This partnership would see Tech Mahindra’s Digital Enterprise Services (DES) division, headed by Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, work with Bosch’s software arm to develop proof of concept solutions for enterprises, smart cities and smart homes.

Note that Tech Mahindra had also demoed a connected vehicle solution at the Mobile World Congress, consisting of combined infotainment features with navigational and diagnostics features, which it claimed could connect directly to enterprise computational platforms, and consequently improve driver assist and alert services along with providing analytics for mechanical, convenience and safety diagnostics among other things.

Mahindra e2o Initiatives:

In March 2013, Mahindra Reva had launched two new mobile apps called – ‘The e2o connectivity app’ and ‘Life with e2o’ along with the launch of its next generation electric car Mahindra e2o. The e20 connectivity app allows users to remotely control various parts of their e2o car through their mobile phone while the Life With e2o app allows users to track their car trips via GPS and compare their car performance with the newly launched e2o across various parameters like fuel efficiency and total savings among others.

During the same time, the company also seems to have launched a video capturing app called Tripeye, which allows users to mount their phones on a phone holder and record their journey.

In April 2013, Mahindra had also partnered with Vodafone, following which the telco was providing machine-to-Machine (m2m) communication services to Mahindra e20.

Image source: Flickr user order_242