On Tuesday, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) launched its latest offering. However, it is not a vehicle—it is an app. The British automaker debuted justDrive, which it described as “industry-leading app technology.” JLR has good reason to describe justDrive as such, as the app is truly unique: it serves as a voice controller for other apps.
The justDrive app builds on JLR’s InControl infotainment system, which enables drivers to connect their smartphones to the vehicle and access apps using the touchscreen or through voice commands. This free app, which was developed by Silicon Valley’s CloudCar, basically allows the driver to control a number of apps using a common interface or natural speech instead of controlling different apps one by one. This means easier access to apps such as Twitter, Spotify and Yelp, to name a few.
The justDrive app was designed to reduce driver distraction, and it does help in keeping motorists focused on the road. It achieves this by finding the results the individual needs from the apps and services available without the individual having to exert much effort in searching. JLR used a driver in need of a refuel as an example: instead of looking for a fuel search app, all the driver needs to do is ask justDrive for directions to the nearest gas station.
justDrive affords the user much convenience thanks to an advanced voice recognition package. This technology allows drivers and passengers alike to “communicate naturally” with the vehicle, as opposed to communicating through syntax commands. So if the driver needs to send a text, say to someone named Jacob, all he/she has to do is instruct justDrive by saying “text Jacob,” followed by the message he/she wants to send. The same thing applies with music and directions—the user can ask the app to play a specific song or ask directions to a particular location.
“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,” Dr. Wolfgang Epple, JLR’s Director of Research and Technology, said in a statement.
The justDrive app resides in the driver’s smartphone and connects to the vehicle via USB. It is important to note that Bluetooth connection is also needed to hear sounds of calls and audio files through the vehicle’s speakers. It is currently available for Apple iOS8 users only, but will be available to Android customers in 2015.