01 Sep 2011
RoboCar, the SequelTopics:
Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Consider the case of William Alden (MBA ’52), as reported in the Cape Cod Times (April 12, 2011). More than 50 years ago, Alden was working on an automated mail-flow system for the Postal Service when he started thinking about a people-moving system based on cars that could drive on roads but also attach to computer-controlled track networks. A version of his idea was adapted in the 1960s and is still in use at West Virginia University. That was as far as the idea went, until recently.
Partnering with an MIT expert on autonomous vehicles and mobile robotics, Alden has a new company, Alden DAVe Systems (with “DAVe” an acronym for Dual-mode Autonomous Vehicle), designed around the use of small vehicles in places like airports, university campuses, and amusement parks. “Forget the guideways, forget the stations, just do it all with software,” Alden explained. “Basically, software is replacing all this infrastructure.”
As investors show interest, the 84-year-old Alden looks to the future and sees himself as part of a relay race. “We’re older gentlemen,” he said. “We have time to move it along and turn it over to a younger crew.”
Class of MBA 1952, Section A