Jaguar says its new infotainment system, InControl Touch Pro, will have the fastest microchip in any production vehicle when it debuts late this year on the redesigned XF sedan.
Matt Jones, who led the team that developed the system, said it will have four times more random access memory than the latest iPad and will have a sophisticated Ethernet connection.
And it uses a 10.2-inch screen with no buttons. The home screen can be customized. It also features pinch-to-zoom features similar to those of smartphones and can be manipulated with swipes, like an iPad.
For the 36-year-old Englishman it's all the culmination of a vision.
Jones joined Jaguar Land Rover in 2002 at the Gaydon engineering center in the U.K. and spent the next seven years working on audio systems, tuners and satellite radio.
He eventually came to a conclusion.
"Things automotive look very dated quickly," Jones said. "I saw this in 2009 and I wanted to design a new entertainment system. We needed to look further forward out to what is coming next."
He declared to his boss: "I am going to work on this," and made a few sketches.
"My boss gave me empowerment and said, 'Let's do this,'" Jones said.
In April 2010, Jones was put in charge of developing Jaguar Land Rover's next generation of infotainment. In early 2013, he moved to the U.S. as the senior technical specialist for infotainment, based in Portland, Ore.
He was charged with setting up a technical center there, an operation that now has 30 software developers who work with teams of engineers in the U.K. and with partner companies for chipsets, software integration, and hardware and software components.
Jones said he hired Web designers and others who worked in industries such as aerospace and business software.
"What we didn't need was automotive experience," he said.
This month, Jaguar Land Rover announced the Innovation Incubator in Portland. Jones heads the project, which will give engineering support and free work space to startup, software-based companies that focus on automotive technologies. As many as 120 startups will be selected in the next decade to work with Jaguar Land Rover.
-- Diana T. Kurylko