Jaguar and its sister brand Land Rover are aiming to lead the automotive industry in the areas of infotainment and vehicle-related personal accessories.
The Jaguar half of the JLR alliance has just released a Fitbit-style Activity Key with its new Jaguar F-Pace SUV, which it says is just the start of the company’s plans for wearable tech.
The black rubber band features just the Jaguar name and performs a function as simple as its design: both shock-proof and waterproof, it allows F-Pace owners to participate in lifestyle activities such as swimming, bike-riding or skiing while leaving the keys in the vehicle.
Owners simply tap the Key on the back of the F-Pace to lock the vehicle and deactivate the car key so it can’t be used in the event of a break-in. Tapping the rear of the vehicle on their return opens it again.
“It’s been designed to be as rugged as possible,” says Jaguar’s design director, Ian Callum. “The standards we put on it are probably way above what they need to be; I think you can drive a 10-tonne truck over it.
“It’s proven to be a huge success. We saw [the Activity Key] very much as sports-wear, [though] in fact people are wanting beautiful ones now so they can work for normal purposes.
“Personal accessories are going that way and we’re already working with our merchandise people and we’ve been doing another generation now but looking more presentable. We’ll do watches”
Callum, however, says Jaguar won’t follow Land Rover’s move to create its own smartphone, which it is doing in partnership with consumer electronics company Bullitt Group.
JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations division, which is charged with creating the fastest and poshest vehicles from the brands will also be responsible for the development of personal accessories such as the Activity Key and watches.
Jaguar also says if it is not already leading in some areas of infotainment and connectivity it will be in the not-too-distant future.
It is currently rolling out the most advanced version of its smartphone-action-based infotainment system, called InControl Touch Pro. It is typically an option over the regular InControl Touch.
“We’re really stepping up the mark on telematics, entertainment and connectivity,” says Callum.
“So whereas perhaps we were lagging behind for a while, which is ironic because we started off with touchscreens before anybody else did with the S-Type, we’re pushing hard now to really master this [area]. I think in a few years’ time you’ll see it leading the way definitely. It’s probably the most important technology.”