News, views & analysis blogs by: Bob Burke


Bob Burke :
Revolutionizing the people mover business is a tough slog, but great fun and we are almost ready to pop our solutions out from under the bushel.


Bob Burke :
Dear Ed,

Loved your comments on this subject in the January issue. I want to email it to my team, who will be happy to see that you are posing the very questions that we are answering. Revolutionizing the people mover business is a tough slog, but great fun and we are almost ready to pop our solutions out from under the bushel.

What would I do? Regarding your question, yes I would start by defining the business. Whether AI will be around in another hundred years had not occurred to be as a criterion, but... what he heck, that means that the magazine and my company have the same outlook.

One thing that seems important to me is that those who would solve the problem will have started early by recognizing what the problem is -- in terms of a "problem" that has a "solution". I started on that tack in 1987.

The people (and goods) mover system needs tuning up. We have the road system. More than enough. We have the essentials of the information/data system, just a matter of what they are used for. (cf. "define your business". toy maps in cars is not a heavyweight application. web-centric production is, but... sorry, I just can´t say a lot without a non disclosure agreement). Fortunately, what needs "tuning up" is what we put on the road system, using the IT system both in production and operation. ("On-Star" is a trivial application of fabulous technology, and can serve to exemplify the low level ways that GM exploits technological development. IT for production is central. IT for operation comes into its own with the "mass transit" part of the overall people & goods mover system.)

Some of the glib-appearing comments that your editorial quotes are actually quite right on. I guess I´d better get off that tack before I go too far.

Let me say -- and leave you to dismiss if you are inclined, that what I would say the solver of the problem should have done is define the problem 20 years ago, define how to solve that problem (and foresee the ingredient technology) as the required technologies emerged, and be ready to put the solution out there right about now: when the end of cheap oil is crashing down on us at the same time as the need to get away from fossil fuels is becoming more clear, and the world is yearning for some really new directions.

People movers A-Z. From efficient, low cost, attractive comfortable vehicles for 1 or a few people around town to efficient big rigs that can go off road as well as on. In the center is the bus -- the "omnibus" for the 21st century. The bus that answers the question: "what would it take to get you to ride the bus?"

As I said, how to pose the question in order to arrive at the way to get people to answer the foregoing question in the overwhelming positive is what the would-be solver of the problem should have done 20 years ago. I did.
We are ready. We soon will need the big money for the rapid growth that will allow us to surf this wave all the way in.

I´m sure you appreciate the rocks in this surf. So far, our business plan has been like the surfer near the Dingle penninsula in southwestern Ireland that we ran into outside a pub there in 1993. He had been surfing great waves between mean rocks for some time. A Welshman living with his artist wife in a spiffy farmhouse, he invited us out to see the photos she took of his dare devil surfing. He worried about leaking the secret of these great
(cold) waves, but did... and the brave from Surfer mag. descended.

Rocks make great waves and for super thrills. No business has more rocks in the waves -- or greater waves! -- than automotive.

Would you like to help?

Best regards,
Bob Burke
(name of company withheld)

Automotive Industries
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