Jaguar Land Rover's all-new InControl system is set to get a big bump as the British company will add a new service called JustDrive, which expands on the smartphone-focused infotainment system by adding a singular voice controller for a wide array of the system's currently available apps.
JustDrive will allegedly deliver on the long-promised idea of natural communication between driver and car.
"Today, we are advancing our InControl system a stage further and to the forefront of the industry with the launch of justDrive. This moves the driver from the task-oriented, app-specific touch-based use of individual apps, to full control of all aggregated app content through plain natural speech or a common touch interface," Jaguar Land Rover research and development boss Dr. Wolfgang Epple said.
Developed by Silicon Valley-based CloudCar, the free app joins and will allow hands-free control of apps like Spotify, Twitter, Yelp, Pandora, Stitcher and roughly a dozen others, simply by connecting a user's smartphone via USB. While currently limited to Apple iOS users (iOS8, to be specific), JustDrive will be made available to Android customers in 2015.
Once that's sorted, a huge array of smartphone-using JLR drivers will be able to take advantage of what the company calls "an advanced plain speech recognition package" which will allegedly deliver on the long-promised idea of natural communication between driver and car, rather than the stilted dialogue that comes with "simple syntax command."
"While our aim is to significantly enhance the driving experience through unprecedented levels of connectivity, we also want to reduce driver distraction. So we have worked closely with the CloudCar team to ensure justDrive is 'right for driving'," Dr. Epple said. "Using speech as a key enabler, together with justDrive's simple and clean user interface, means we only show essential information to help create a safe, non-distracting driving environment."
It sounds like a pretty stellar system, and one we're eagerly looking forward to sampling. Until then, scroll down for the official press release on the new app from CloudCar and Jaguar Land Rover.
• Jaguar Land Rover announces next stage of development of its InControl™ infotainment and connectivity platform
• Silicon Valley's CloudCar™ develops a consistent experience for all smartphone users through justDrive in Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles within company's proprietary InControl Apps™ system
• Using one of the most advanced voice recognition packages in the world, justDrive presents the driver with a unified, voice-enabled interface to a wide variety of popular apps and services
• Jaguar Land Rover opens its first overseas R&D facility in Portland, Ore., to develop further infotainment and connected car technologies
(LOS ANGELES) – November 18, 2014 - Today, Jaguar Land Rover has announced the launch of justDrive, an industry-leading app technology that integrates multiple smartphone apps into a single, voice-activated in-car experience.
Developed by Silicon Valley-based CloudCar, Jaguar Land Rover has optimized justDrive for its InControl™ platform for Apple iOS8 users. 'justDrive for Jaguar Land Rover' integrates popular apps and services, services, such as Spotify, Twitter and Yelp, to give Jaguar and Land Rover drivers an unprecedented level of integration with navigation, media, social interaction, voice search and information services while minimizing driver distraction. Free to download, justDrive is also available on Android from early 2015 and offers drivers continuously updated apps and services throughout their vehicle ownership.
justDrive will join 17 other apps including Stitcher, iheartRadio and Parkopedia currently in Jaguar Land Rover's InControl Apps in-car infotainment system. The InControl™ Apps in-car infotainment system allows the driver to plug their smartphone into the vehicle and then control select apps through the vehicle's Touch-screen or voice recognition*. InControl Apps is currently available on the 15MY Jaguar F-TYPE and all 15MY Land Rover vehicles. It will be available throughout the entire Jaguar and Land Rover product lineups by Model Year 2016.
Dr. Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: "Our InControl system already allows the driver to plug their smartphone into the vehicle and then safely control their apps through the vehicle's touchscreen. The apps are enhanced for in-car use, so it is like having your smartphone installed in your dashboard."
Today, we are advancing our InControl system a stage further and to the forefront of the industry with the launch of justDrive. This moves the driver from the task-oriented, app-specific touch-based use of individual apps, to full control of all aggregated app content through plain natural speech or a common touch interface."
"CloudCar is excited to be collaborating with Jaguar Land Rover, a thought leader in bringing the connected car experience to their discerning customers", stated Luke Smithwick, Vice-President of Marketing and Business Development at CloudCar. "As the first to adopt justDrive, Jaguar Land Rover brings customers a thoughtful, connected experience that evolves with the driver and remains current throughout the vehicle's lifetime."
justDrive uses an advanced plain speech recognition package so customers can communicate naturally with their car, rather than using simple syntax commands. justDrive's intelligence takes care of finding the best results for a user's request from among the many applications and services that it has aggregated. So instead of the driver having a separate fuel search app, they can simply ask justDrive for directions to the closest gas station.
The driver can dictate and then send a tweet or SMS by simply saying: 'Tell George I'll be late', with justDrive reading the content of the message back to you before it is sent. You can also ask justDrive to play a particular song just by asking for it.
"While our aim is to significantly enhance the driving experience through unprecedented levels of connectivity, we also want to reduce driver distraction*. So we have worked closely with the CloudCar team to ensure justDrive is 'right for driving'," added Dr. Epple. "Using speech as a key enabler, together with justDrive's simple and clean user interface, means we only show essential information to help create a safe, non-distracting driving environment."
New technology research center opens in Portland, Ore.
To support the development of other future innovative infotainment technologies, Jaguar Land Rover has opened its first overseas R&D facility in Portland, Oregon.
The $3 million Open Software Technology Center will focus on the development and application of advanced connected technologies and will help lead the development of future Jaguar and Land Rover infotainment systems.
The 15,000 sq.ft facility features a multimedia creative suite, innovation spaces, a development laboratory and a six-bay vehicle workshop. It employs a team of around 30 infotainment specialists, including 16 highly experienced software engineers.
Dr. Epple said: "Our new Open Software Technology Center will create many more opportunities for Jaguar Land Rover to collaborate with some of the most innovative and ground-breaking technology companies in the world.
"Not only will the Portland team augment the skills of our 240-strong team of infotainment engineers in the UK, but they will develop and lead research projects with large and small technology companies up and down the West Coast. We want to help guide the technological direction these innovators are taking as they help us develop exciting new in-car experiences for our customers in the future."