Next-Generation Cars

Business Week has a special report on how technology is creating a new era in automobiles. A look at the advances we are likely to see:

  • Safety systems will move from passive protection, such as airbags, to active systems that use radar and cameras to watch for danger.

  • Car keys will be replaced by credit-card style systems

  • Every new car will come with a computer-like screen mounted on the dash. It’ll display a navigation system that uses a global positioning satellite plus onboard DVDs to provide directions, maps, and information on hotels, hospitals, and restaurants.

  • Nearly every car will have a Wi-Fi hookup that automatically provides the weather, news, and other information.

  • Cars will increasingly collect data that can be shared with dealers, manufacturers, and even other vehicles.

  • Voice commands will become far more common to help drivers juggle the proliferating functions in their cars.

  • Brake-by-wire and accelerate-by-wire — where pressing the pedal sends an electronic signal rather than activating a physical connection to the engine or brakes — will become common.

  • Increasingly, cars will be programmable.

  • Marc Fleury’s Story

    [via Jayesh Matani] Business Week brings a story by the founder of the JBoss Group on how he recovered from his first failure:

    I decided that the company had to turn a profit from the start. I had to keep revenues ahead of expenses at all times. I would not seek VC money this time — the environment wouldn’t allow it. Since I had already lost my savings, I had to make money on my venture from the get-go. I had no choice.

    I found that working from the bottom up – building the product, going after the business is better than working from the top down — looking for the money first to fund a raw idea. For fledgling entrepreneurs, the lesson is clear: Focus on your core competencies, do the work yourself — don’t count on someone else. And keep your costs under control, so that revenues stay ahead of overhead.