Net-savvy ride

Check your mobile to track your bike. A smart bunch of electric scooters and motorcycles is vrooming into the market

  • Published 25.02.18

Suppose you’re watching a thriller movie when you get an alert on your mobile phone that someone’s ridden off with your motorbike. You don’t panic. Instead, you use the app that sent you the alert to remotely cut off the bike’s engine even without getting up. 

After the movie, you’ll know exactly where to find your ride since your cellphone will tell you where it is. You can then use your app to unlock it and ride away. No sweat, no anxiety, no running helter-skelter. Pretty cool, huh!

Welcome to the world of connected two-wheelers, which, along with cars and SUVs, would be able to send out and receive data over the Internet.

For the last few years in India, cars and SUVs have been getting ‘smart’, that is, the ability to connect over the Net. Now, it appears to be the turn of motorbikes and scooters to join the fray if some concepts and even models that one could book at Auto Expo 2018 were any indication.

Connectivity, it appears, would mostly be available in electric vehicles (although one could jolly well hook up a bike with an internal combustion engine to the Net if one wished, the same as cars). So here’s a quick look at some of the ‘smarter’ motorcyles and scooters that are likely to roll out.

Twenty Two Flow

The manufacturer, Twenty Two Motors, says this is the first AI-enabled, cloud-connected scooter in India. It will remain connected 24x7 and analytic algorithms will check the data received from it continuously to see if it needs service and even pre-empt failures such as of the brakes by suggesting a replacement. 

The information comes on the touchscreen dashboard that is used to control other functions as well. A mobile app can be used to check and control functions on the vehicle remotely. It’s in-built Geo-Fencing will notify the owner once it goes beyond set boundaries. It also has an SOS feature for emergencies.

Piaggio Vespa Elettrica

This concept electric scooter from Piaggio would come with a retro look but the latest electric motor. It would have a 4.3-inch colour TFT display cluster and connect to the Piaggio Multimedia Platform (PMP) mobile app for smartphones using Bluetooth. There’s also a USB charging socket. While the app’s Virtual Dashboard would show vehicle data and other parameters on the phone, Navi will navigate and also show charging stations. The PMP can also collect trip stats and, with MyPiaggio, share and compare them. And when the going gets slippery, there will be a warning to ride carefully too!

TVS Creon

This funky-looking red-and-white concept from TVS looks like a motorcycle from which the fuel tank has been taken out. Where the fuel filler would be in a petrol bike, there is a charging socket. This electric could go on sale in India next year and has a full complement of connectivity features. It will hook up with your mobile phone through Bluetooth LE for navigation, notifications (incoming calls, new messages) and also for sharing ride stats (number of trips made, the average speed, distance covered, and amount of carbon dioxide not produced, among others). Meanwhile, the phone will give information such as charging points in the area. The information on the Creon will be displayed through its TFT screen.

Hero Electric HE-18

Hero Electric, India’s biggest maker of electric two-wheelers, is looking at launching a slew of new models over the next couple of years. And part of that series is the HE-18, a futuristic looking motorcycle. Still a concept, it is the one that is supposed to get a smart connectivity feature when it is rolled out. The details are not out as yet, but one could expect features such as ride stats, service alerts, and so on. The bike will come with cool features such as automatic headlamps and cruise control. The 55kmph bike with a range of 70km also has a USB port for charging a smartphone.

Emflux One

This will be India’s first electric superbike with prices ranging from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 11 lakh, a top speed of 200kmph and a 0-100 time of three seconds. It will also have a range of 150km to 200km depending on whether it’s being ridden on the highways or in the city. But more than that, it will have a fully connected smart dashboard and will be artificial intelligence-enabled. The display will have the Emflux NEXT UI with integrated navigation, communication, connectivity, real-time system updates among other things, and will be upgradable over-the-air to allow for new features. Connection will be through Bluetooth, WiFi and 4G.

Text and pictures: Abhijit Mitra