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Technology has brought the world to our fingertips. Be it on a car or a plane, we flit between a constant stream of infotainment and social updates.

Not surprisingly, two-wheeler owners bring the same expectation to their rides. But two-wheelers are a relatively less safe mode of transport and governments, safety bodies, and two-wheeler manufacturers everywhere are noting with alarm that the usage of screens such as smartphones is adding to accident rates.

At KPIT, we recognize this and are leveraging upon our vast experience as key technology partners to global passenger car manufacturers to turn what is a weak spot in the two-wheeler universe into a major strength

For the last few years, we have been building some of the world’s earliest platforms for connected two-wheelers. Our objective is to bring the best of the smartphone to the two-wheeler rider. We plan to do this by improving safety and providing a more connected ride experience.

Bringing two-wheelers into the connected system

Since two-wheelers are a relatively vulnerable mode of transport, the first principle we kept in mind when we began work on our platform, was that any feature we provided could not be detrimental to safety. Following logically from this, any technology we created would need to have the flexibility to reside on one of the three key touchpoints of two-wheeler riding – the handlebar, instrument cluster, or the helmet. And the platform would need to regularly onboard connected ride experience related features without any changes to the underlying architecture.

We also looked at the precise needs of the different two-wheeler segments. Here we found that enhancing safety during rides was a common requirement.

For the daily commute segment, this had to be coupled with boosting efficiency and had to be done at an extremely optimum price point. For the higher-end segments that include mixed-use and adventure riders, our platform would need to help their bikes talk to each other during off-roading and bring on board luxury features like in-vehicle commerce.

Off to a good start

Having laid the groundwork, one of our first offerings on the connected two-wheeler platform has been a navigation module delivered in a way that is safe for two-wheeler owners to consume on the road. Going a step further, we have made sure it is brand-aligned for any OEM that decides to bring it to consumers.

Our team is now working on technology-driven solutions that boost safety. Crash detection features that alert emergency services and loved ones are on the anvil. Our research also tells us that accidents often happen when two-wheelers are in the blind spots of drivers of larger vehicles. Hence, we are exploring how we can use connected, sensor technology to make drivers aware of this danger.

Another aspect we are looking at is bringing CV2X technology to market rapidly for the two-wheeler space. While regions like Europe are closer to this in terms of 5G infrastructure, India may leapfrog stages as in the instance of landlines to the cell phone. This will bring the smartphone into the connected two-wheeler space in many places across the globe.

Our future trajectory

Look at Ducati’s new Multistrada V4 bike equipped with front and rear radars. We are excited to see any kind of connectivity and sensing technology making its way into the two-wheeler space. As a large two-wheeler market, a country like India can quickly change the curve of any technology and make it happen at very optimum price points.

Of course, we are aware that the two-wheeler environment is much more complex and harsher than for passenger cars, and will need a specific set of cycles to scale new technologies.

We are also looking at bringing software-enabled systems like ADAS to make the two-wheeler experience significantly safer. By honing human judgement, such technologies could play a huge role in bringing down two-wheeler fatalities on dangerous roads. As an added advantage, our deep experience and a strong connection to the large Indian market will enable us to offer these technologies at extremely affordable price points which are crucial for the two-wheeler space.

Our connected platform for two-wheelers spans across robust building blocks including embedded software, smartphone app, cloud, analytics, and machine learning. We foresee a future for two-wheelers with the smartphone as a centrepiece and additional sensors and connectivity as the surrounding layers.

The KPIT solution for connected two-wheelers is compatible with upcoming e-scooter and e-bike models, and compliant with regulatory scenarios even in stringent international markets such as Europe.

We will continue in our endeavour to bring the best of safety and connected platforms and solutions to every two-wheeler owner at optimum price points.

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