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Pininfarina AutonoMIA to Enhance Drive Experience

Pininfarina, a leader in automotive design and engineering, has expanded its offering to its automotive customers through the conception, design and realization of User Experiences, in the form of a highly responsive, multi-sensory, on-board experience demonstrator, named AutonoMIA.

AutonoMIA is an immersive exploration of how technologies, ranging from AI to 5G, from display to haptics, from sensors to natural interfaces, can all be leveraged to re-enchant the driving experience. The tool helps designers continue iterating on the thinking on the future of driving. Different parties build knowledge on the data extracted from its usage.

AutonoMIA is also an asset that can be leveraged, customised and developed further for Pininfarina’s clients. AutonoMIA was made possible thanks to several new strategic partnerships. The main collaboration is with ART. The Umbrian company brought its experience in creating user interfaces for automotive cockpits on board, and provided its highly advanced and customisable infotainment platform. ART provided all of AutonoMIA’s hardware and developed the needed middleware.

In turn, the application layer was designed in close cooperation with and developed by Siili Auto, a leading Finnish automotive software development company. The seats and all the padded parts were supplied by ARAS.

“AutonoMIA”, explains CEO Pininfarina, Silvio Pietro Angori, “shows how Pininfarina may combine experience design with creative technology, reinventing the on-board experience at a time when digitalisation, connectivity, data and artificial intelligence are substantially redefining mobility. With its experience design team and partners, Pininfarina today helps its customers through mobility experiences which are getting more and more digital”.

In the future, AutonoMIA will be able to build on the true augmented reality experience provided by Pininfarina’s partner WayRay and its advanced holographic, full-color head-up display technology and new applications for autonomous driving, urban mobility and infotainment.


Peugeot Motocycles Gets Ready to 'Re-Act'

Peugeot Motocycles has rolled out its new ‘Re-Act’ programme which aims to ensure the health and safety of all its stakeholders including employees and dealers, and ensure optimal working conditions at the company’s plants and offices.

The ‘Re-Act’ programme encourages employees to ‘react’ and get involved collectively to resume business operations and overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic. The core of this new initiative is the optimal health and well-being of the employees, and greater cohesion of business teams all of which are critical for the successful recovery of the company.

Work at Peugeot Motocycles headquarters in Mandeure, in the French district of Le Doubs, resumed on May 11 while production recommenced on May 18. Ahead of the resumption of work, elaborate sanitary and social distancing measures were planned in agreement with social partners, and were communicated to employees. Masks, safety glasses, hand sanitizers, tutorial videos and instruction sheets were provided even as circulation flows and work-spaces were redesigned to ensure social distancing.

The company management also prepared a charter comprising expected social and professional skills, and employees were encouraged to sign it as a testament of their commitment to the new safety norms while ensuring optimal production at its facilities.

The Corona pandemic and subsequent lockdown had forced the company management to implement remote working norms. The new measures, including the weekly ‘virtual coffee breaks’ (Q&A Skype sessions involving HR and staff), have proved to be very effective and efficient. The management has decided to continue with the successful measures.

The ‘Re-Act’ programme aims to promote two-wheelers as a viable transport solution. With social distancing becoming the norm in the wake of the Corona pandemic, motorized 2-wheelers are expected to become the preferred means of individual transportation. Underpinned by the renewed focus on two-wheelers, Peugeot Motocycles has adopted the ‘Stay Safe, Stay Free- Individual Mobility, Collective Security’ motto to promote agile mobility solutions. This new brand mantra reinforces that solutions do exist for those who choose an agile mobility solution that allows the social distancing to get through this sanitary and economic crisis.

Re-Act also aims to support the recovery of commercial activity of the Peugeot Motocycles’ distribution network. The company has also conceptualized new financing solutions to facilitate the purchase of Peugeot two-wheelers by the general public and professionals. Re-Act also comprises protocols to secure the safety of dealers and customers, both in showrooms and after-sales workshops. Health and safety recommendations have been shared with Peugeot Motocycles dealers to ensure optimal health conditions at the dealerships.


Decoding the New Economic Recovery Package

The government unveiled an INR 20tn package over the past week. Guarantees to the tune of INR 3tn for MSME loans and INR 0.75tn for NBFC borrowings were announced. These off-balance sheet measures along with liquidity measures announced earlier by the RBI will definitely perk up sentiment and put a floor under GDP growth, which now could end up being closer to zero percent rather than in the deep negative, subject to the caveats of the reopening of the economy and no-second wave of infections.

The agri-related announcements including funds for strengthening farm-gate infrastructure, food micro-enterprises and dairy, marketing reforms and contract farming will bring in a delta to growth in future. The overall package should be viewed as beneficial over the medium-term, with the government seeking to bring in more private investment into sectors such as mining, coal, airports, social infrastructure and power, by removing the excessive constraints that exist today across sectors.

The package is also in sync with the government’s broader philosophy of empowerment as against encouraging or creating more entitlements. The only thing being freely distributed is food. That not only addresses the survival issue of the poor, but also rids the government of huge food grain stocks which have a huge carrying cost. The package also tries to cover all the vulnerable sections of society, including migrant workers, the urban poor, street vendors, small borrowers, small & marginal farmers, senior citizens and widows.

The government has also allocated an additional INR 400bn to MGNREGA, doubling the FY-21 spending amount to INR 800bn, and also raised daily wages under the scheme by ~11%. This is a prudent measure that will provide employment opportunities to workers who have migrated to their villages in the short-term. However, this could also prevent migrant labour from returning to work in semi-urban and urban areas.

The government has packaged the relief measures quite deftly with the actual hit on the fiscal deficit at just INR 2.3tn (or 1.15% of GDP) as against the headline figure of INR 20tn (10% of GDP). This should buy it peace with the rating agencies for now at least. Finally, while there is criticism that the actual spending is just a fraction of the package, what really matters is not how big any announced number is, but whether governments and central banks are prepared to offer an open-ended commitment to do whatever it takes to put a floor under economic activity.


Thinking Outside the Auto-box

Mahindra’s Automotive Sector has just announced a wide variety of innovative, new finance schemes to ease the burden on its customers. The schemes include customised, industry-first offerings that assure peace of mind for Mahindra customers, deliver financial flexibility and empower them to own their desired Mahindra vehicle model at their convenience.

Speaking about the schemes, Veejay Nakra, CEO, Automotive Division, M&M Ltd said, “The introduction of these unique financing schemes is one more step by Mahindra to support its customers during these challenging times. These schemes aim to provide financial flexibility and peace of mind to our customers, especially for our COVID warriors who are providing unparalleled support at this point in time. Together with the various digital interventions which Mahindra has recently announced both in its sales and service, these offerings will provide our customers with a holistic buying and owning experience for a Mahindra vehicle.”

Mahindra is empowering its customers by offering a host of finance schemes through various financial institutions:

  • Special Finance Schemes for COVID Warriors
    • Doctors: 50% processing fee waiver and the option to buy now, pay later (90 days moratorium)
    • Police: High funding scheme for police personnel
    • Pickup Vehicle Owners (ESP): Own a BSVI Mahindra Pickup and pay the same EMI as a BSIV vehicle
  • Own Now, Pay in 2021: Own your SUV today and start paying the EMI next year
  • 90 Days Moratorium: Own your SUV today and start paying the EMI after 90 days
  • 100% On Road Funding: Up to 100% of on-road funding for Mahindra SUVs
  • Empowering Women with Special Schemes: 10 bps discount on the rate of interest
  • Balloon and step up EMI offering to lower the monthly payments:
    • First 3 low EMIs
    • Pay 50% less EMI for 3 months for every year of the loan tenure
    • 25% of loan payment at the end of the loan tenure
    • EMI starting from as low as INR1,234/ per lakh
  • Highest Loan Tenure: Loan Repayment after 8 years
  • Lowest Interest Rate: Rate of interest starting from as low as 7.75%
  • Hassle-free Financing: No prepayment / foreclosure charges from the very first day
  • Yellow Board Funding: Taxi funding available for a wide range of Mahindra SUVs


Tech Mahindra leverages AI in COVID Fight

Makers Lab, the research and development (R&D) arm of Tech Mahindra Ltd., has leveraged Artificial Intelligence (AI) to conduct research to find potential therapeutic drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. Tech Mahindra is also collaborating with a renowned bio-scientist for plausible therapeutic drugs and research laboratories for synthesizing and testing these compounds.

CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra, said, “Tech Mahindra is not only committed to ensure the well-being of our employees, customers and partner ecosystem, but we are also invested in finding a potential cure for COVID-19 by leveraging cutting-edge and futuristic technologies like AI.”

Makers Lab aims to promote technology, innovation and recognise transformative ideas that have a potential to make a difference and create disruptive solutions to solve real world problems. The R&D team has used the molecular docking approach because of high transmission rates of COVID-19.

The molecular docking technique enables search for therapeutically potent drugs and molecules in real time to find compounds which can act as inhibitors against a viral protein computationally. Tech Mahindra conducted molecular docking studies across 19 FDA approved ligands and anti-viral drugs on the main protease of the virus.

Nikhil Malhotra, Global Head of Makers Lab, said, “Our objective was to prevent the entry of virus into human host cells such as lung airway epithelial cells. This is important because the high transmission rate of COVID-19 is attributed partly to the high affinity binding and entry of the virus into host cells.

Once the virus cannot enter the host cell, it is harmless. Our strategy included finding a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) agent which can inhibit the virus. Use of Artificial Intelligence helped the research team to evaluate multiple scenarios with different parameters while investigating how molecules dock with the main protease.”

As part of the TechMNxt charter, Tech Mahindra’s Makers Lab is focused on developing future-ready solutions by leveraging next-gen technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotics, Internet of Things, Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality, 5G, etc.

  Tweet of the Week

Anand Mahindra

Thank you @rajesh664 for responding to the call to do our bit. We’ll be looking at longer term initiatives as well. But their immediate problems need to be addressed. Do look at how we can assist, along with our dealer community, in their last-mile transportation issues.

Rajesh Jejurikar

We @MahindraRise will work to provide support for people coming back home by collaborating with 139 District Magistrates in UP,Bihar,Odisha through our Automotive and Tractor dealers.Thanks to our dealer partners for offering to partner on this. @anandmahindra @GoenkaPk

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