Want to know where the next big innovations will come from in the connected car space? Of course, most automakers, tech companies and investors do, and they’re making big bets on small startups.
For its part, Jaguar Land Rover plans to nurture approximately 120 startups over the next 10 years in overlapping six-month “cohorts” at its new 25,000-square-foot JLR Tech Incubator in Portland, Oregon. The facility will house up to a half dozen startups at a time and furnish each one with up to $250,000 in direct investment, in-kind work, shared office space, dedicated engineering and UX support, internal and external mentoring, and more.
At the CES, JLR announced the first three startups that will take up residence in the Incubator later this month, which were chosen from a very crowded field. “We started out with more than 130 applications,” said Matt Jones, head of Future Infotainment for Jaguar Land Rover and director of the Incubator. “We whittled that down to 25 using internal reviews. Then we got that down to 10 and had face-to-face meetings to bring that down to the chosen three.”
BabyBit’s product is designed to keep parents informed both when they are with their child as well as when a baby is out of sight with a caregiver. BabyBit consists of a sensor that attaches to the baby’s clothes, a mobile app and a cloud application that keeps parents appraised a child’s location, body position, temperature and also the caregiver’s status.
“It’s definitely outside the automotive element,” Jones said of BabyBit. “It explores what connected devices can do, and working with BabyBit over the next six months we are going to explore some of those use cases.”
ParkiT was developed by recent graduates of Rice University in Houston, Texas, and its technology leverages cameras and sensors that are already in place to provide real-time parking data. “Most large car parks have security cameras,” Jones noted, adding that ParkiT can also leverage in-pavement sensors that some parking garages are starting to deploy. “Going forward, the proposal is using the existing parking infrastructure and cameras to help drivers find open spaces.”
Urban.Systems is a new company whose founders comes from large corporations like Intel and IBM, and whose goal is to aggregate electric vehicle services and products to “provide a streamlined solution in cities,” according to JLR. Urban.Systems produces and manages electric vehicle infrastructure, including charging strategies, battery management and fleet distribution, and works in the open-source environment.
“Urban.Systems is an enabling platform for the interoperability and connectivity of fixed infrastructure, vehicles and public and private transport systems, focusing on a very open-source approach,” said Jones. “They are really interested in working with JLR, the Linux Foundation and GENIVI, which fits with what we’re doing with open source.”
The principles at Urban System “have run huge engineering teams at the director level in massive organizations,” Jones added. “In some ways it’s the opposite of ParkiT which is straight out of university. But all three of the ones chosen fit our criteria to be healthy startups when they’re done.”
Originally published by Forbes.com