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MG Astor set to be India’s first affordable car with level 2 autonomous driving

MG Astor set to be India’s first affordable car with level 2 autonomous driving
Photo Credit: Reuters
15 Sep, 2021

Chinese-owned British carmaker MG Motor has unveiled its fourth vehicle in the Indian market – the MG Astor. 

Set to go on sale from October, the MG Astor sits in the mid-sized SUV market and builds on the same platform as that of MG ZS EV with a loosely similar design and profile. It packs plenty of tech inside, including level 2 autonomous driving technology, which is a first in the mid-sized SUV segment. 

As part of level 2 autonomy, the Astor uses a mid-range radar and a bunch of multi-purpose camera sensors to enable a variety of safety and driving assistance functions. This includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, blind spot detection, intelligent headlamp control (IHC), rear drive assist (RDA), and speed assist system. So far, such systems have been seen in high-end cars from Volvo and the Mercedes S Class in India. 

Beyond this, the Astor also has an AI personal assistant, designed by Star Design, on board. This system depicts emotions and voices and provides information on voice-based queries. It engages with people in the car and is powered by MG’s i-Smart Hub, a proprietary platform that will allow the driver to personalise the set of services/subscriptions they want to have in the vehicle. 

The AI assistant and other connected functions of Astor are accessed through a 10.1-inch touch-screen infotainment system, which offers support for Jio’s e-sim. The car also has a Digital Passport feature, which uses data collected from sensors to record the user’s driving prowess. This data can be used by insurers and resellers to gauge the car’s resale value and insurance premiums. 

Under the hood, it comes in two petrol engine options. One is a 1.5-litre, naturally aspirated engine promising 110hp of power and 144Nm of peak torque. Meanwhile, the other is a 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine, churning out 140hp and 220Nm. 

The price of the new vehicle is yet to be revealed but it is being touted as the most affordable car from MG in India, sitting in the price band of Rs 10-15 lakhs.