JLR to launch ‘Innovation Incubator’
Jaguar Land Rover has announced a new initiative to support the development of future infotainment technologies in the US.
Jaguar Land Rover will now launch an ‘Innovation Incubator’ project in Portland, Oregon, to encourage, promote and support new software-based automotive technologies that are being developed by US technology start-ups.
The focus will be on finding innovators who have great potential ideas, but need Jaguar Land Rover’s technical help to make these concepts a reality. The Innovation Incubator project begins in May 2015 with an outreach program to US universities. It will select around 120 start-up companies for Jaguar Land Rover to work with over the next decade.
Nick Rogers, engineering director, Jaguar Land Rover, said, ‘As well as pioneering new ideas and developing our own technologies in-house, we want to develop even more collaborative partnerships with the world’s leading technology businesses. We want to cast a wide net and invite technology start-ups to pitch us their ideas, rather like TV’s Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den. If we think they’ve got something innovative that could enhance the experience customers have in our vehicles, we want to support them and help develop their ideas.’
This support includes a space in a new ‘Innovation Incubator’ centre that will be developed in Portland specifically to accommodate these technology start-ups. Jaguar Land Rover will also recruit 50 experienced engineers who will work directly with these start-ups in Portland to help them make their ideas a reality.
‘This incubator approach will enable us to seek out and encourage young companies with brilliant ideas for new technologies who may lack the technical skills or knowledge of the automotive industry to move their ideas forward. As well as mentoring them and offering them technical support, they can base themselves with us and develop and test their ideas in our brand new, collaborative and innovative environment in Portland,’ said Matt Jones, head of future infotainment, Jaguar Land Rover, who will manage the new facility.
Jaguar Land Rover has already run a pilot for the ‘Innovation Incubator’ programme and identified a project with a US technology start-up called Vonsor.
The innovative Vonsor system is currently under development with Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering team in Portland. The system will allow drivers to take live footage from cameras inside and outside the vehicle, edit them together on the vehicle’s touchscreens and then share the footage on social media.
‘This is completely in tune with the social media generation. People of all ages love to capture their experiences on their smartphones and share them. The Vonsor system allows you to save both your on and off-road driving adventures, with cameras integrated in the vehicle filming anything from wheels articulating over an obstacle, to the whole family having fun inside the car whilst driving along. Vonsor would allow you to collate all of that footage, edit it together and post it all from the vehicle’s touchscreen – so everyone can share the experience,’ said Justyn Baker from Vonsor. ‘We met Jaguar Land Rover at a start-up pitch competition, and it has been great to get their support and insight. It has helped open my eyes to more possibilities than I had ever imagined.’