Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator Program Recruits 3 New Startup Companies

By - Jaguar Land Rover's Tech Incubator Program HAAS alert Mycroft OpConnect

Each Company Will Receive Funding and Assistance from Jaguar Land Rover in Developing Emergency Response, Artificial Intelligence, and Electric Vehicle Ecosystem Technologies

Last January, Jaguar Land Rover started its Tech Incubator program, designed “to encourage, promote and support new automotive, mobility and connected car technologies that are being developed by U.S. start-ups.” JLR has announced its first three picks for 2017, which focus on technologies that enhance safety and convenience.

1.) HAAS Alert. This mobile platform works with connected cars, autonomous vehicles, and “smart” cities. The goal is to enable city services, such as first-responder crews, to alert drivers of road/roadside issues, including accidents, emergency vehicles on the move, and the presence of emergency personnel.

2.) Mycroft. Built using constantly updatable open source software, Mycroft recognizes natural language and responds to vocal commands. Potential benefits of this technology include reduced driver distractions and greater user friendliness and convenience.

3.) OpConnect. According to JLR, “OpConnect sells and operates electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, a vital component of the electric vehicle ecosystem. Customers can use the OpConnect website to manage their accounts, locate the closest EV charging station and remotely check the status of their battery recharging.”

JLR will support these companies by investing in them and providing engineering help, mentorship, and dedicated space inside JLR’s Portland, Oregon R&D facilities. Every quarter, JLR picks a new trio of companies to take part in its Tech Incubator program. Its goal is to assist 120 start-up firms through the initiative over the next decade. If you have or someone you know has a business that would be a great fit for the program, go to to learn more about its eligibility requirements. JLR is accepting applications for its Spring 2017 wave, which runs from mid-April through mid-October.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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