Live and Let Drive
Bond -- James Bond -- is the inspiration for the Q-PC, a new computing system that brings desktop technology to the dashboard. The logic is obvious: a certain British superagent never gets lost in foreign cities, even during car chases, and is well supplied with gadgets to make the drive comfortable. Derrick T. Copeland, CEO of ADT Inc. (#101), believes all motorists deserve to experience a bit of 007's heaven. Even his product's name is Bondian: the "Q" is an homage to the cantankerous gadget guru who suits James up for every mission.
The Q-PC provides drivers and passengers with Internet access, MP3- and DVD-playing capability, and navigational tools such as maps and directions. With the system, a grueling family drive to Florida is "just three or four Disney movies away," Copeland says. Although Copeland hopes the Q-PC will ultimately appear in roadsters of every racing stripe, he is initially marketing his hardware to makers of ambulances, limousines, and recreational vehicles. Consumers can pick up the Q-PC as an aftermarket add-on. Prices range from $3,500 to $5,500, although one professional basketball player recently dropped $40,000 on a custom job, replete with a full-screen plasma TV.
For the company's CEO, one pure joy of such a business is the opportunity to test- drive wired-up cars. But Copeland also appreciates the system's practicality. Last year, when his transmission died on a lonely New Mexico byway at 5 a.m., "we went on the Internet and found the dealer who was the best service provider in the four-state area," Copeland recalls. Eight hours later, his car was back on the road.
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