Last weekend, Honda invited a bunch of us, to show their latest offering named the Honda Connect. This product transforms your car a smart car, by hooking it up to the internet, allowing both you and Honda to monitor how your car is performing.
To kick off the event Mr. Katsushi Inoue, the CEO of Honda Cars India, gave us an overview of what Honda has accomplished in India and an overview of Honda Connect and how it would benefit their customer base.
What is Honda Connect?
Honda is pitching this product to get your car hooked on to the Honda Cloud, which will enable you to track your information about your car via a mobile application.
To do this, you’ll have to buy a device from them which connects to your car via an OBD-II port. If that’s geek and latin to you, OBD stands for On-board diagnostics. This allows the device to hook into your car’s computer to read information about your car’s sensors and send this information to Honda’s servers. You access this information via an Android or iPhone App.
Honda also gets information about your car, allowing them to alert you about potential engine trouble before it becomes a major problem.
We got to try out the app first hand with a drive activity that Honda had arranged for us. Just before the start of the driving activity, we were asked to login to the Honda Connect app and get setup. This allowed us to view the Trip Analysis of our drive which included information about the top and average speeds, places where we braked hard and also routes where our car was speeding too fast. This information is especially useful if you have a driver for your car, or you lend out your car. The app also allows you to locate your car with directions to it, in case you forget where you parked.
One of the safety features which caught my eye was their impact detection and alert service. This service alerts the Honda if and when they detect that your car has impacted and Mr. Inoue did specifically tell us not to “road-test” this feature. But what it essentially does is, when an accident-impact is detected, the device alerts the Honda call-center with the details and location of the impact. Once they receive this notification, they call the customer in the next few minutes to make sure they’re safe and arrange road-side assistance if required.
The connected app also gets a notification, so you also get an alter if you’re not the one in the car. At least, the pot-hole ridden Bangalore roads didn’t cause false impact alters when we took these cars out for a spin.
To demonstrate the engine health monitoring feature, someone from the Honda team pulled out one of the connections to a sensor when one of the car’s engine was idling. This caused an alter to show up on the car’s dash and the mobile app. Within a minute or two, the phone which was registered to the car rang and we were connected to the Honda 121 call-center staff. They told us that the car was experiencing an issue and had to be taken to the nearest dealership for repairs. Pretty cool!
The Honda Connect app provides a few other useful features as well, including scheduling service appointments, locating the nearest dealer among others.
The Honda Connect device is available from Honda dealers across the country and is currently priced at ₹2,999 with one month subscription included. You can opt for a monthly or annual plan post that. The Honda Connect app is available for download on the iPhone and Android platforms. You can learn more about Honda Connect at Honda’s site.