A Warm Welcome to our Fall 2016 Cohort

Fall has arrived in Portland, and with a change of seasons comes a new batch of companies at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator.

We are pleased to welcome our next cohort: Mogol, a startup focused on increasing fuel efficiency; Nouvola, a startup developing technology which speeds and optimizes software performance; and HeadsUP!, a startup building voice-recognition hardware for cars. This will be the fourth set of companies to join the Incubator, as well as the final cohort of our first year.

(Happy almost birthday to us!)

Jaguar Land Rover has committed to working with 120 early stage mobility-focused startups over the next ten years. So far we’ve collaborated with nine companies building everything from smart things, to in-vehicle entertainment technologies, to drones, to software for automotive service centers. These next three startups bring opportunities to explore innovation across new areas, and to stretch the limits of our imagination of the future of mobility.

Lowering emissions is a priority for Jaguar Land Rover, as is increasing fuel efficiency. The company has lowered its fleet CO2 average by 25% since 2007, and we continue to explore solutions to keep the needle moving. This is one reason why we’re thrilled to welcome Mogol into the Fall Cohort. Mogol’s technology adjusts the driver’s speed via the vehicle’s cruise control system based on traffic, navigation, and topographical conditions in order to optimize fuel consumption and reduce emissions.

Nouvola, the second company to be joining us this month, is building user-friendly software that helps companies build, test, iterate, and deploy solutions faster than ever. Nouvola’s ability to seamlessly integrate with existing development operations systems could help increase the speed and performance of Jaguar Land Rover’s infotainment software, effectively delivering an even better experience to its customers.

The final company in the Fall Cohort, HeadsUP!, is developing an in-vehicle voice assistant. Drivers will be able to use HeadsUP! for assistance with navigation, sending texts, making calls, and even playing music. The 6-month partnership with HeadsUP! provides the opportunity for Jaguar Land Rover to explore new approaches to enhancing our vehicle features sets, while increasing customer safety by reducing driver distractions.

We’re excited to work alongside this diverse mix of startups to create new proofs of concept, and continue our journey into the frontier of future technologies. We have no doubts that these companies – and their teams – will be a stellar addition to the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator.

Company Showcase: SICdrone, Spring 2016 Cohort

In order to shed a bit more light on what we’re doing here at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator – and who we’re doing it with – we will be shining a spotlight on one of our startups every few weeks.

Since Winter Cohort 2016 has ended and we’re headlong into Summer Cohort 2016, we decided to start right in the middle with SICdrone, one of the three companies making up our Spring Cohort 2016.

SICdrone – Spring Cohort 2016

Drones, drones, drones.

Amateur photographers and flight enthusiasts can’t seem to get enough of the latest products to hit the shelves, but drones have immense potential for uses beyond flying for hobby. From search and rescue to agriculture to transportation, drones could have a game-changing impact on a vast array of industries and social challenges.

Drones are long overdue for a drastic reboot, necessary to ensure their capabilities match their far-reaching possibilities. SICdrone is one startup that’s reimagining the design, performance, and reach of the multi-copter drone. Joining the Spring 2016 Cohort at the Incubator, the startup’s team of aerospace engineers, product developers, and engineers, is creating and manufacturing a series of hover-type drones that fly faster, farther, and with greater capability than anything like it on the market.

Jaguar Land Rover is interested in exploring potential use cases of drones in a vehicle context. We anticipate these machines could potentially provide our customers with more accurate real-time traffic information, expanded views of upcoming terrain, and a multitude of other potential applications that provide drivers with unique “birds-eye” insights.

We believe that SICdrone, with its innovative product design, is well-positioned to experiment in this space with us to create a better experience for our customers. We’re excited to work with them to explore their products’ potential for the automotive industry.

“Working in the Jaguar Land Rover Incubator has been great in the fact that it has really pushed us to explore more deeply the idea of pairing drones with ground-based vehicles. The partnership has opened up avenues that would have taken years and compressed the time-frame down to a few months. It’s been awesome to see the benefits drones can provide to off-road vehicle drivers performing scan-terrain-ahead type tasks and also for first responders.  For instance, we are looking into a drone that deploys from a fire chief’s vehicle with a camera sensor package that helps to keep firefighters safe by quickly scanning a burning building for hot spots prior to entry.” – Dan Bosch, CEO & Founder, SICdrone

 

 

 

 

Summer at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator

It’s mid-July, summer is in full swing in Portland, and we have officially welcomed the next wave of startups to join the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator: AVE, Validated, and Lyfeboat.

AVE, Validated, and Lyfeboat make up the third six-month cohort in the ten-year Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator program. As part of their acceptance into the Incubator, each company receives a combination of direct investment and services, Jaguar Land Rover global engineering and design resources, strategic support from the Incubator staff, mentorship from industry leaders, and designated office space in the Incubator facility.

Like the cohorts before them, these tech startups are working to break new ground in the automotive industry. From in-car entertainment experiences for autonomous vehicles, to merchant loyalty programs that reward drivers, to software that manages repair and maintenance logistics for service centers and vehicle owners throughout the vehicle’s life, it’s clear to us that the companies share the Jaguar Land Rover spirit of innovation.

A little about our Summer Cohort companies:

AVE optimizes in-vehicle entertainment experiences to meet the expectations of the growing number of passengers, in both the front and rear of cars. Using AVE’s technology, brands can deliver existing content to infotainment systems in a format that is highly efficient, easily consumable and consistent with other in-car user control models.

In working with AVE, Jaguar Land Rover looks to continue our advancements in maximizing and reinventing the driver experience and the performance and efficiency with which those features can be delivered.

Validated is a platform that feeds local commerce by connecting brick-and-mortar businesses to transportation networks. Currently live in Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles, the app lets shops, restaurants and other businesses buy their customers a ride or pay for their parking as a way to show appreciation, boost spending, and build loyalty. Validated users recoup their transportation costs by meeting minimum spending requirements, and Validated merchants drive sales without undermining the integrity of their brand.

Validated provides Jaguar Land Rover with a fantastic opportunity to continue our mission of maximizing the driving experience.  Beyond the monetary and loyalty incentives provided to users, Jaguar Land Rover will look to work with Validated in a few key areas, including bridging the everyday consumer experience with smart city technology, and providing better data regarding transportation and infrastructure-use patterns.

Lyfeboat is an end-to-end software solution for auto-service centers. Lyfeboat increases service center efficiency by providing logistical tools for managing the work process, ordering parts, tracking vehicle maintenance and repair history, and more. The software also enhances the customer experience by offering an easy scheduling interface, simplifying communication during the repair process, and ensuring transparency.

Jaguar Land Rover wants to increase efficiencies for its service centers and transparency for its customers. Lyfeboat is a promising new platform that we believe may disrupt the current market for vehicle service software.

With cutting-edge technologies and stellar teams, these three companies that make up the Summer 2016 Cohort are a wonderful addition to the (still in-house) Spring Cohort. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have them on board and look forward to the collaborations ahead!

Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator: First Class

The phenomenon of big brands working increasingly with smaller companies is a trend that’s not slowing down.

In fact, we can no longer call it a trend, or a thing that companies do to hang with the cool kids — but a survival mechanism. Corporations are fast learning that at this rate of disruption, they can no longer afford NOT to entrench ourselves with those who do disruption best: startups.

As Director of Future Technology for Jaguar Land Rover, one of my key focus areas is startup collaboration as a necessary way to bring the future into the present. At CES in January I presented not simply our own latest open-source technology (although of course that was present) but the first companies we would be working with as part of Jaguar Land Rover’s new 10-year Tech Incubator.

The Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator will encourage, promote, and support early-stage technology (mostly software, but not as a rule) whose products can be integrated into a car environment – and potentially instigate the next wave of connected car technology.

On stage, I introduced our three inaugural incubator companies, including BabyBit – a smart baby monitoring system that one wouldn’t immediately place into the automotive category. The Tech Incubator, and more broadly Jaguar Land Rover, is exploring and breaking the traditional boundaries of what a connected car can do. BabyBit is a prime example, with a potential car integration meaning real-time data around caretaker handoffs and the health of safety of one’s child.

We announced Urban.Systems, a new company that provides integrated, open infrastructure support for electric vehicles. This company also sits outside the norm of a singular automotive software product, and looks at the entire system around the future of electric vehicles – what infrastructure needs to be in place for any product to work? What types of public-private partnerships must be instituted, or management enabled? It is this holistic thinking that brands must be thinking about ahead of the curve, in tandem with the technologies they are building.

And finally, we introduced ParkiT – a company that does fall into the automotive category, and which provides camera-based, real-time parking data. The ingenious technology was developed by a team of Rice University grads – talent which may have been overlooked in a traditional corporate paradigm.

In the next few weeks we will be announcing the second round of companies joining the incubator.

We are lucky to help these company grow through our six-month immersive program in our new Portland, Oregon, state-of-the-art facility, where they’ll receive comprehensive support – including financing, space, and mentorship – along with Jaguar Land Rover engineering, UX, and design talent. In turn, we receive access to a diverse set of technologies making a better experience for our customers.

Production cycles have their limitations. There’s only so much a team, or a division, or a company can do in a specific period of time. Not only can startups increase the speed of learning by exponential margins, but they can offer the kind of wild creativity and diversity in thought that allows for the big breakthroughs.

Creativity amounts to nothing, though, without the health of the company propagating it. In return for fresh thinking and new innovations, a large brand can support the health and growth of small companies. With a program like an incubator, startups can obtain financing, access to talent and networks, and other resources and support they might lack without the backing, collaboration, and association of a larger institution.

It’s win-win when big brands and startups work together – and this collaborative mindset is not just exciting, it is vital to our company’s future.

 

Matt Jones
Director of Future Technology