Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) may be the next automaker to experiment with car sharing. The British firm is reportedly launching a tech sub-brand to test the concept, which is becoming popular with car companies that are looking for sources of revenue beyond vehicle sales.
Called InMotion, the venture will design apps and on-demand services to “overcome modern travel and transport challenges,” according to a JLR press release. The company says InMotion will begin its testing of car sharing next month, with larger scale testing in North America, Europe, and Asia in the coming months.
InMotion is a wholly-owned subsidiary of JLR based in London, but will operate more or less independently as a startup. JLR believes the startup model will allow greater flexibility in developing new technologies and practices. Ford took a similar approach recently when it launched its Smart Mobility subsidiary, which also has car sharing and other mobility services within its purview.
JLR also said InMotion will employ up to 30 people “who will support entrepreneurs to build new businesses.” This seems to be an outgrowth of the company’s previous “Innovation Incubator” program. Launched last year in Portland, Oregon, the program allows entrepreneurs to pitch new tech ideas to JLR, and work with the company’s engineers.
Beyond that, JLR was short on details about what InMotion will actually do. It said the subsidiary will conduct research to design “closed real-world experiments” and then use the results of those experiments to develop actual technologies and services that could at least potentially be commercialized. The experimental approach appears less aggressive than that of some other carmakers, which have started their own car-sharing services.
BMW recently re-launched its car-sharing service under the ReachNow name in Seattle, while Daimler continues to operate Car2Go. General Motors is launching a “mobility brand” called Maven which will, among other things, coordinate car-sharing pilot programs in New York City and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Audi also operates pilot car-sharing services under the Audi At Home and Audi On Demand banners.