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Artificial Intelligence is making its Presence Felt in the Electric Vehicles Domain: Jeetender Sharma, MD, Okinawa Scooters

Steeply falling technology costs and business model innovations are driving the world’s transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles

In India, no matter which walk of life we are in, the one problem that everyone is plagued by is air pollution. Furthermore, with increasing urbanization in India, vehicular pollution is growing at an alarming rate as well. This has lead to the Government of India taking number of steps to incentivize and promote the deployment of electric vehicles in the country. The Government in collaboration with the NITI Aayog also conducted the Global Mobility Summit last year to focus on the use of electric vehicles in India and to provide accessible, zero emission, efficient, affordable and shared modes of transport for Indian citizens.

Also, several Indians are also open to buying electric vehicles if that would help reduce pollution. However, electric vehicles face several challenges with lack of charging stations being one of them. Nonetheless, Okinawa Autotech, claims to have a solution for it. In an interview with DataQuest, Mr. Jeetender Sharma, Founder and MD, Okinawa Scooters, highlights the salient features of the company’s products, how artificial intelligence is making a mark in the EV segment, and the company’s plans for expansion in India.

Excerpts

Q. What are the new technologies launched by the company in the EV segment?

A. We have introduced detachable Lithium-ion batteries in our scooters, a technological revelation that has significantly added to the convenience, comfort, and efficiency of the vehicles. The technology has enabled users to have a hassle-free experience when they need to charge the battery, using the Micro Charger with Auto Cut. These batteries are not only detachable and of a convenient size, but can also be charged at any regular plug point at one’s house or workplace, making it easy to use while out and about.

Additionally, we have made use of Throttle Lock technology in our scooters. This is one of the safety features whereby the user won’t be able to start the scooter without applying the break first. Our scooters also come with a number of Smart Features, such as Driver Score, Immobilize, Geo-Fencing, ‘Find My Scooter’, Tracking and Monitoring. Another unique feature of our scooters is the Walk Assist feature which comes in handy if a tyre is punctured. In such a scenario, the motor provides additional support to the rider and enables them to easily adjust the vehicle when they are parking it.

Q. What are the features of the e-scooters by the brand?

A. The host of features in our scooters include central locking with anti-theft alarm, keyless entry, ‘Find My Scooter’ function and mobile-charging USB Port. Additionally, Okinawa scooters have an E-ABS (Electronic – Assisted Braking System) with regenerative energy, and alloy wheels with a tubeless tyre, both making for a super smooth ride.

We have also launched the Okinawa Eco App for our intelligent scooters i-Praise & Ridge+, which gives users full control of the vehicle from remote locations through their mobile phones. The app offers a number of functions like Geo-Fencing, Immobilization, Secure Parking, Tracking & Monitoring, Maintenance / Insurance Reminders and Battery Information, using state-of-the-art technology.

Q. What role does Artificial Intelligence play in the EV segment?

A. Like almost every other industry, AI has been making its presence felt in a subtle yet important way in the EV domain. One of the recent emerging trends is that of ‘connected’ vehicles, which utilise AI technologies powered by the relevant data that is fed into them. These vehicles learn by studying the changing user-behavior and the environment around them. For instance, AI can help a connected car track and analyze the route, determining their location and the distance between them and other vehicles/objects in order to avoid collisions. Another emerging function that is EV-specific is the tracking of charging stations via AI. It can help EV users know how long they have to go before the next charging point. At Okinawa, we have implemented IoT and AI into our flagship models, the i-Praise and Ridge+ through the Okinawa Eco App. Through the app, the customers have access to smart functions such as immobilizing their scooter remotely if it is ever stolen. Additionally, the Geo-Fencing feature helps users to set boundaries and can alert them accordingly. The app also tracks driver behavior to give users information about their own driving style which substantially adds to driver security as well as engagement with the vehicle.

Q. Future plans of the company

A. We have been rapidly expanding our operations across India, focusing mostly on a dealership based offline distribution model, frequently launching dealerships across cities and towns in India. With this, we aim to reach a wider consumer market and reach out to potential buyers throughout the country and introduce them to the benefits of the EV world. Additionally, we plan to set up our second manufacturing facility in the country. This will bring down operational costs and help us offer our vehicles at even better prices. We will also introduce a number of different vehicles in the coming years.

We will continue on this journey of expansion with the aim to become the country’s leading exporter of EVs in the near future. In this technology-dominated age, there is a need for smart EVs, and Okinawa aims to continue equipping our scooters with a range of tech tools and features that are able to give Indian commuters the best riding experience. Moreover, we aim to invest heavily in creating a viable charging infrastructure in the country, and are looking to collaborate with government and non-government agencies to help implement this. Our ultimate vision is to emerge as India’s premier EV manufacturing brand and to consistently bring about a positive transformation in the Indian commuter’s transportation behavior.

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