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The Thinker

Watch out! Your car may be getting smarter than you.

This story appears in the February 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

How smart is your car? Lexus has an optional navigational system so intelligent, it can steer you clear of ferries and toll roads with a choice of three routes to your destination, display two maps simultaneously on its 7-inch screen, and give address points for almost 10 million locations-in French or English. The system, called Lexus Link, also has a dual-mode phone and a vocabulary of 300 voice commands for its call center. Just announce, "I'm hungry!" and get a list of nearby restaurants.

State-of-the-art wireless telematics combine computing and telephony to send and receive data for navigation systems, provide voice activation for cell phones and handle messaging. In addition, if a theft-deterrent system indicates the car is being stolen, telematics alerts the service center and tracks the vehicle's location.

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