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David Hitchings in the new car, with computer screens on the seat backs
David Hitchings' demo car
David Hitchings' demo car
David Hitchings
David Hitchings

Press Release - 28 March 2007

Graduate's company can turn a car into an office

A West Country company started by a 23-year-old as his first business is set to rival multinational car entertainment and vehicle manufacturers by producing a sophisticated computer system that turns a car into an office.

David Hitchings’ company, In-CarPC Ltd, has created a system that allows car drivers and passengers to use a computer with screens on the dashboard, seat backs and sun visor. It lets people surf the internet, send and receive emails, watch DVDs, make hands-free phone calls, use conventional software and listen to music over the car’s sound system.

The company, based in Brislington, Bristol, is taking on the might of large vehicle-makers and aftermarket accessories manufacturers, which are starting to introduce similar systems into their products.

Mr Hitchings, a graduate from the University of Bath, has used his own money to set up In-CarPC which can install the computer system, costing between £2,000 and £4,000, in a car in a day.

The system is designed for safety, so emails are read out loud by the computer, and the DVD and video screening system is disabled on the dashboard when the car is being used so the driver cannot be distracted. Later this year the system will be adapted so all functions can be controlled by the driver’s voice.

“Of course it’s a challenge to produce a system that is intended to rival those being made by firms like Pioneer and Alpine,” said Mr Hitchings.

“But we feel that our system is as good as anything on the market now because it is based completely on a computer system and we can make sure it is customised for car owners.

“Because our computer system brings many business-related features to cars, we expect this to appeal particularly to professionals who spend time on the road – our system can provide them with valuable tools to help them get to where they want to be, and communicate wherever they are and by any means – in short, all the benefits of computers that normally sit on a desk.

“We believe our product can rival any of those on the market now or likely to come on the market in the near future and can benefit a lot of people.”

Mr Hitchings, who finished a four-year physics degree last summer, had the idea to start his own business during a year’s placement in industry. He says the rigour of his degree helped him to sort out many of the small problems that complex software can create.

During his final year, Mr Hitchings attended the Student Enterprise ’05 conference, which he found very useful day and encouraged him to start the business.

The company has installed the system into a demo car, which can be driven to potential customers. Customers can drive their cars to the company’s workshop in Emery Road, Brislington, to have the system installed, or the mobile installation team can carry out the work at customers’ homes and offices.

The system includes satellite navigation, remote access to another computer, and can run any software that is compatible with Windows XP.

The launch of the car today at the University of Bath attracted interest from local radio and TV stations.


The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/

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