How did it all begin…?

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I parked my car outside a bank and went it to run a small errand. When I returned, my car was gone! It was only after couple of minutes that I realized, a no parking sign was mounted on a tree…. something so obvious and prominent (pun intended), I had not sighted. Now I have to pay the penalty of going the entire way to retrieve my vehicle and indulge with the local authorities. But hang on, where did they take my car after towing!? Local shopkeeper was a real help, the nearest spot for towed vehicles was merely 10 Kms away. Even better, I had to reach somewhere (for some reason, am unable to recall even after such a fantastic incident). Anyways, I decided to first handle my meeting as I had no idea how long I would have to spend with the authorities, before they decide to release my vehicles. Next day morning, I sent my driver to retrieve the vehicle. I was hoping I would get my vehicle with-in 3-4 hours but…. yet again, the local authorities were one-up on me. I was able to see my vehicle and driver only in the evening! I really wished then, if I was granted one super-power, it would be to ‘ telepathically stay connected to my car’, so I can easily fend such uncalled adventures. Not that I don’t enjoy it but they always seem to happen when I am really busy and occupied with more important stuff.

I asked my father- a veteran of automobile industry, running a successful automobile firm for a better part of 3 decades; if there was a magical box that could be fitted in the car to provide us with the telepathic-power? His answer – ‘Not Yet’. (May be he wanted me to look into it, that is why instead of a firm ‘No’… it was just ‘Not Yet’).Funny how that feels now. But back then, did not think it meant much. After my vacation was over, I returned from Mumbai, back to South Korea: working on my dream job.

I had shifted to this peninsular country from USA five years ago, to pursue an opportunity in high-end R&D and design circuits for future hand-held technologies. It was supposed to be a short stint before I returned back to USA, but work was so much fun that time just flew by and I was already three years in Korea by the time destiny decided that I had enough fun… and arranged for the car-towing incident while on a vacation in India (just happy that fate decided to play only a small prank- as it could have been worse!).

Back to work in Korea, I started looking for such a magical car box (Korea being technologically advanced) but interestingly, being highly organized, these countries do not have such a thing. So back to square 1! While conducting a study to overcome issues, I rode from garages to workshops just to understand the need of customers and more importantly about the technological advancements in vehicles. Even bought a service for my car, just so I can talk the matter with main in-charge at a particular workshop. The only thing I could understand that there was a need but no solution yet. So my need to get the telepathic powers was quickly seeming impossible. Again, as the lady destiny would have it, another incident occurred. I was driving my car and suddenly a check light started flashing! It was not a normal check-engine light (though I say normal, I do not know what to do when engine check-light flashes- more importantly is it safe to drive vehicle?). I decided (feeling proud), I am a son of an automobile expert, let me figure out the issue. Armed with my limited knowledge but wearing big pride up my sleeve, I started to fiddle with some wires; shut-start vehicle, few kicks to the car – here and there (thinking a punishment to car will make it pliant). However, it got me nowhere but back to the workshop where I got my car serviced. Showed the issue to the local technicians there …. but they could not understand it immediately too (breathed a sigh of relief- as my pride was still intact- thought to myself, if trained technicians are not able to figure it out immediately, it was OK for me too not know too!). However my car is still flashing check light. With stroke of genius (may be for me only), I decided to open the car manual (first time ever since I bought the car), there it was…. it was a car servicing check-light! How could that be? I had just got my car serviced by those same people only 10 days prior to this incident.

Now my brain started catching signals (sorry for my technical usage- can’t help it being an electrical engineer working on circuits) that destiny was sending. My passion for automobiles re-kindled, I actively started studying more about the vehicles. I figured, since cars are more electrical than mechanical, I can somehow devise a way to get into the minds (so as to speak figuratively) of the car. And my work and R&D on designing cellular devices, made me believe, I can imbibe the same telepathic prowess inside my car that I have been looking for from existing market products but have been unsuccessful.

The genesis of the idea ‘Auto Tranz- technology for smarter Vehicles’ was thus borne. It would however be another 1 year and a lot of market-study, R&D and tough-decisions before Auto Tranz would start existing.