Text & Pix: T Murrali

With the navigation segment in India growing and evolving rapidly, there have been innumerable trends emerging from India and abroad. The Hungary based company NNG LLC has been leveraging these trends to develop navigation solutions.

P1040100At a recent exhibition of the VIP Technology Showroom organised by NNG and its local strategic partner ANS, Peter Bolesza, Vice President of Emerging Markets at NNG, said, “Our goal is to maintain our leading position in technological innovations in the navigation industry. As technology evolves every day, our aim is to bring the most up-to-date and user-friendly solutions to India, and to shape the local navigation industry in accordance with the latest trends.”

The showroom had a unique collection of the customised navigation solutions that NNG provides in India and countries around the world, such as Germany, China, Japan, United States and Hungary. NNG, the global leading navigation solution provider for the automotive, personal and wireless navigation markets, offering on-board 3D navigation applications, highlighted some trends in the navigation sector including the emerging role that smartphones play, and the evolution of infotainment design.

NNG has garnered expertise over a period of time to develop navigation units with India-specific features – like emphasising on visible landmarks, similar to what it did specifically for Chinese market by introducing character recognition. For instance, the software module developed for India has several languages, in addition to English, such as Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Bengali and Punjabi. The company currently has real-time traffic information on 23 Indian cities, and in Indian voices. Bolesza hoped that these features would enable the customers to use it comfortably.

The emergence of smartphone integration in cars has helped fuse the dependability of embedded automotive solutions and the connectivity of smartphones. NNG has developed a feature set called NavFusion, which synchronizes personal data with the car’s infotainment system and enables the navigation system to adapt to the driver’s lifestyle, offering him myriad personalised solutions.

P1040098Enhancing the driving experience further and taking the first step towards a completely automated car is the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). The goal of this system is to help automate lighting and braking, provide adaptive cruise control, incorporate GPS/traffic warnings, connect vehicles to smartphones, make drivers aware of nearby cars or dangers, prevent the driver from drifting out of lanes, and open up blind spots. Industry leaders across the globe are researching this promising trend, and NNG exhibited its solutions in this area.

Another topic of discussion at the demo room was the future of the in-car HMI (Human machine interface) experience which is increasingly becoming important to optimise the infotainment system in a way that accommodates the driver’s preferred style of driving. This necessitates a comprehensive HMI design that harmonises things like mobile devices, multiple screens, navigation systems, vehicle-specific technology, and other technological solutions, while decreasing drive distraction and making driving safer. NNG has been at the forefront of this trend and has recently acquired an American company to increase investments in this market and help make the driving experience more integrated and more enjoyable, he said.

NNG has all its navigation solutions running on a single engine called ‘iGO Primo Next Gen,’ through which it also expanded its portfolio in India by adding new navigation software. The core technology is based on the standard-setting iGO Navigation Engine, comprising of innovative navigation software, fluid User Interfaces and related content and services to device manufacturers, auto makers, network operators, professional transport specialists and individual users globally. iGO Navigation software is currently installed in more than 20 million devices throughout the world. Based on supplier agreements with 16 Tier-1s, delivering to over 34 car brands, the company intends to ship over 30 million licenses additionally in the coming years. It continues to develop global markets for navigation solutions through 14 company branches, including Hungary, Israel, Switzerland, India, Australia, China, Japan (X2) and the United States (6x).

INTERACTION – Peter Bolesza, Vice President of Emerging Markets at NNG

P1040094Q: What is the focus of your R&D centre and what kind of megatrends do you follow?

Bolesza: Fuel efficiency is an important factor for us; based on the map data we can calculate the efficiency. Secondly, it is connectivity; this is a smart trend and it is only the beginning. HMI is going to be a really critical part of the car because of more software components; at the moment it is extremely fragmented and the application is running on different devices, different process sources providing different types of information. There has to be a centralised way to do it.

Q: How does NNG work with its customers?

Bolesza: We work closely with several Tier-1 solution providers including Harman, JCI etc., from the beginning when they create new infotainment systems for the car. We are working together with them integrating the navigation engine, -an integrated part of the system; we get information from the car through the hardware integration and we provide information back to the car. Besides, we do all the porting, integration and get everything we need from the infotainment system provider, and then these companies sell the complete solution to the OEM. We don’t sell the software separately as it doesn’t make any sense. We are selling our software modules to these Tier-1s, who in turn create solutions.

Q: When it comes to compatibility or upgrading your software, how effective are they?

Bolesza: It’s up to the OEMs’ specifications and we can fulfill any kind of requirement. We create the package based on OEMs’ RFQ for a particular project. In India, we have currently one OEM customer and we are already in touch with about 5 others.

Q: Is there a way you can address the aftermarket?

Bolesza: Yes. The aftermarket itself is very fragmented at the moment. We work together with a couple of players in this space. There are a few global companies, including some from Japan, coming to India now. I cannot name them at the moment.

Q: What is the driving force for you to get aggressive in India?

Bolesza: India is going to be a significant market, no one is questioning that and we would like to be a part of it. We expect to be the market leader with significant market share of around 50%.

Q: Tell us about the development centre you are planning for India?

Bolesza: Not development centre I would say, it’s only a pilot programme which we are running. We have to see the efficiency level and we will decide based on the results. We will appoint a few engineers and start work on some projects, not necessarily Indian but global ones. We are going to closely monitor the efficiency level of these few guys, based on that we will decide whether it makes sense to increase or not.

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