Mahindra & Mahindra has launched DiGiSENSE, a connected vehicle technology solution in its small commercial vehicles Jeeto and Imperio, reports News Voir. The device is only available on certain models of the vehicles at a price of Rs 5000 and Rs 6000 respectively. The tech will eventually be made available on all Mahindra vehicles, although the company did not mention a timeline.

Note that Mahindra had announced this platform just last month, when it claimed that DiGiSENSE is an open-architecture, which makes us wonder if the company will maintain compatibility to allow it to be used with other apps.

DiGiSENSE offers vehicle tracking in realtime, as well as history of vehicle travel, geo fencing to monitor off route vehicles, route planning for finding an efficient route, remote engine diagnostics and vehicle breakdown assistance which sports an emergency alert button to contact the nearest service center. Other than this, the service also provides vehicle usage and delivery reports based on distance, location, alerts, deliveries completed and other types of breakdown. These features are available via an Android app. Users can also get SMS and webpage alerts without requiring a smartphone app.

Mahindra’s tracker is in-built, which avoids the hassle of the user having to install anything. The connectivity control unit (CCU) as Mahindra calls it, contains a SIM card with a data plan and a GPS unit. This unit essentially connects to Mahindra’s servers and logs positional and vehicular data 24×7, which is then made available to users via an interface. Interestingly, Mahindra mentions that its platform will offer different diagnostic data to relevant users. For example it will provide delivery reports for small commercial vehicles and trip planners for personal vehicles.

Privacy vs security: Mahindra, like many other players in this field, logs car data back to its servers instead of directly connecting with a user’s smartphone. This approach has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, car data is logged even when a user’s smartphone is out of range, and the platform can work remotely, say from an office to keep track of delivery vehicles. But this does compromise privacy, handing over travel patterns, where a user moves, how the car is used etc., back to the company. A simple OBD-based bluetooth diagnostic tool coupled with an app on an Android device can do a similar job, without logging data to any servers.

Other car monitoring systems: Earlier this month, Quikr launched QuikrScanner, an IoT device that connects to cars via OBDII ports, providing users with information like the car’s location, performance and overall condition. In the same month, Jio said it would launch a new IoT product coming up: ‘Jio Car Connect’, an OBD device that can be plugged into a car’s port to record and track engine and other vehicular related data.

Similarly, Gurgaon-based Trak N Tell provides a GPS-based product that enables car owners and fleet owners to track their vehicles, while MapmyIndia launched a plug and play device in May called DriveMate that connects to cars via the OBD port and provides location, ignition and status reports. Others in this space include automobile manufacturing companies like Honda.

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