JLR Expanding Portland Research Center
Today’s Land Rover news comes from Portland with news that JLR has plans to expand its Northwest Portland Research Center. The company has broken ground on a 20,000 square foot expansion to its site in the Pearl District that will allow the company to add 30 more engineers to their already 80 employee strong facility. Jaguar Land Rover first opened the “Open Software Technology Center” in the Pearl District in July 2014 to focus on infotainment software research and was the only product-development site outside the UK. The new facility plans to provide space to work with alumni of its in-house startup incubator who have developed technology that could possibly be used in JLR cars. These startups spend six months refining their ideas with the help of the automaker’s engineers and some start-ups appear to not be automotive-focused. Examples of some of these projects includes a parking-focused machine learning system, a wearable sensor for babies, and a device that analyzes steering wheel vibration.
Three new companies were recently added to the incubator: AVE, Lyfeboat, and Validated (a Seattle-based startup that lets business cover parking and transportation costs for customers). Over the six month stint in the incubator, the startups receive investments, developmental support, mentorship, and office space. JLR plans to work with 120 startups over the next ten years. Rupert Poole, new manager of the Portland campus, said in a statement, “With the rapid growth and evolution of future technology, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be leading Jaguar Land Rover’s Technology Center and Incubator program in Portland. The latest start-ups to join our Tech Incubator AVE, Validated and Lyfeboat share our spirit of innovation and we’re excited to work with them to explore ways of enhancing the driver experience for our customers.”