Grayson Brulte

Grayson Brulte

@gbrulte | @gbrulte

Grayson Brulte is an Innovation Strategist and Co-Founder of Brulte & Company.

Grayson Brulte is an Innovation Strategist and Co-Founder of Brulte & Company. As an innovation strategist and strategic advisor, Grayson builds trusted relationships with organizations, working together with internal teams to prepare clients for what’s next.

From developing strategies for autonomous vehicle programs to helping companies become the go-to resource for technology innovation, Grayson empowers clients with the foresight and intelligence to take on the world’s biggest challenges.

Sharing his insights into what’s next, Grayson hosts The Road To Autonomy Podcast and the SAE International Tomorrow Today Podcast, where he interviews high-caliber guests and leaders across industries, sharing his own unique perspective to deliver one-of-a-kind discussions.

Harnessing his in-depth knowledge of diverse markets, economics, politics, and technology, he and the guests tackle topics from autonomous vehicles and mobility trends to the financial effects of innovative breakthroughs and their impact on society.

Grayson understands the intricate relationship between politics and innovation, expertly navigating between these worlds and facilitating the impactful conversations between the two. Grayson has enabled forward momentum and transformation from a city to a national level.

As a former Co-Chair of the City of Beverly Hills Mayor's Autonomous Vehicle Task Force and member of the city’s Smart City/Technology Committee, he helped Beverly Hills become one of America’s digital capitals chosen by Google.

His perspective, insights, and opinions are utilized and shared by leading organizations and publications throughout the market.

Grayson’s comments and opinions have appeared in numerous publications, including: The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, CNN, Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter, and Reuters.

For speaking engagements, editorials and media enquiries please email [email protected].

Scaling Autonomous Vehicles with Precise Location

Aaron Nathan, Founder, CEO and CTO, Point One Navigation joined Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy Podcast to discuss safety and scaling autonomous vehicles with precise location services.

The conversation begins with Grayson and Aaron discussing how we can make cars safer today, due to a rising trend of speeding on roads that is leading to an increase in crashes and fatalities. One potential way to dent this trend is to solve for the issue is for companies to actively embrace and implement active safety solutions that can predict and act before an incident takes place.

Ultimately making systems that can detect something that is going to happen and then actually do something to avoid those type of tragic incidents. That is really where I think this industry is going to have a big impact in the near term.

– Aaron Nathan

With rising crashes across the world, could the general public become more open to trying and eventually embracing autonomous vehicles as part of their daily lives? AVs do not get distracted, text or speed. They simply follow the rules of the road and take you to and from your destination safely. Safety will be one defining factor that ultimately leads to a future with autonomous vehicles.

The other factor that will ultimately drive consumers towards autonomous vehicles is convenience. We are starting to see the early phases of this trend with the introduction of Apple‘s Crash Detection that is featured on the iPhone 14, Apple Watch 8 and Ultra. As much as this is a safety feature, it’s a convenience.

Feeling that your device is really helping you be safe, that technology that kind of feeling is something that we are going to see, not just from companies like Apple, but also car companies that are building these technologies.

– Aaron Nathan

Could Apple’s introduction of Crash Detection be the first step towards the much speculated Apple Car? Possibly. Grayson and Aaron discuss why an Apple Car would be an another platform for Apple to grow their services businesses through the introduction of augmented reality experiences in-vehicle complimented with a commerce layer. To achieve this vision, Apple has to develop an autonomous vehicle stack.

While Point One Navigation is not developing an autonomous vehicle stack, they are however enabling AVs to know where they are all of the time and updating other vehicles in the fleet in real-time on road trends with their precise location.

We are the common language that the cars can use to talk to about where they saw something.

– Aaron Nathan

Real-time data can be used to update an autonomous vehicle on traffic patterns and advise the passenger on the best time to leave the destination when they summon an autonomous vehicle. Point One’s technology can also apply to traditional vehicles as well. This is convenience and this is the future of mobility.

Tying the digital and physical worlds together, that is a building block that we are enabling.

– Aaron Nathan

It’s not just traffic data, it’s the real-time precise location of the vehicle that makes Point One’s technology so important to the future of autonomy.

Wrapping up the conversation, Aaron shares his thoughts on the future of precise location services.

Location is one of the most important and invisible sensors in all of robotics, not just self-driving vehicles.

– Aaron Nathan

Follow The Road To Autonomy on Apple Podcasts

Recorded on Thursday September 15, 2022

Scaling Autonomy Profitability

Andrew Culhane, Chief Strategy Officer, Torc Robotics joined Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy Podcast to discuss scaling autonomy profitability along with Torc’s strategic relationship with Daimler.

The conversation begins with Andrew reflecting on the last 14 years of Torc, as he first joined the company in 2008 as a Sales Engineer. Up until Daimler acquired a majority stake in 2019, the company never took any outside funding and was profitable each and every year.

Torc was bootstrapped from day one. We had no outside capital into Torc until the Daimler deal.

– Andrew Culhane

This is a success story. This is Torc. The can do attitude of running a growing profitable business has proven to be extremely successful for the company. While it’s successful today, it was a journey that was full of hard decisions and moments of uncertainty. It’s these moments of uncertainty that laid the groundwork for Torc pivoting to autonomous trucking as Andrew explains in detail. These decisions led to what the company is today, a company with a Daimler partnership that is solely focused on autonomous trucking.

We had learned a lot of lessons over all of those years and really understanding what it was going to take, and made that move to trucking before anybody else.

– Andrew Culhane

The decision to pivot from passenger vehicles, mining and military to focus solely on autonomous trucking was not an an easy decision. While the decision was not an easy one, it allowed the company to focus their entire effort on autonomous trucking. As part of their focus on autonomous trucking, the company is focused on a hub-to-hub model. This model was chosen based on experience and listening to the needs of their customers.

It has been three years since Daimler took a majority stake in Torc and there has been a great deal of collaboration during this time.

It’s been a really interesting partnership and collaboration.

– Andrew Culhane

This approach follows Torc’s track record of not overhyping and not making promises that they cannot keep. Torc has never publicly set a date to remove the driver and operate driver-out operations as they have always kept true to who they are. With this in mind, Grayson and Andrew discuss the boom and bust hype cycles of autonomy.

While Torc is not making timeline promises, the company is clearly laying the groundwork towards commercialization as the company recently appointed Peter Vaughn Schmidt (Head of Daimler Truck Autonomous Technology Group) as CEO.

Wrapping up the conversation, Andrew discusses what drove Torc’s financial discipline from day one.

Follow The Road To Autonomy on Apple Podcasts

Recorded on Tuesday September 13, 2022

Electric Vehicle Subscriptions

Scott Painter, Founder & CEO, Autonomy joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss Autonomy’s approach to electric vehicle subscriptions.

The conversation begins with Scott discussing why he founded Autonomy.

I think that great entrepreneurs, great companies have to solve a real problem.

– Scott Painter

One of the key hurdles to the adoption of electric vehicles is affordability and that is the problem that Autonomy is solving with their subscription model. For those individuals who are uncertain about electric vehicles and/or concerned about range, Autonomy offers a low commitment way to discover and experience an electric vehicle without a long-term commitment.

Because Autonomy owns the fleet and gathers data in real-time about the vehicles, the company is able to offer time based episodic insurance for subscribers. With this model, subscribers only pay for insurance when they are driving the vehicle, leading to a lower operating cost than a traditional lease.

Overall, an Autonomy subscription is about 15% less than a traditional lease. When compared to a Tesla lease, an individual needs to have a minimum 720 FICO score in order to qualify for a lease. With an Autonomy subscription, an individual can secure a subscription with a minimum 640 FICO score.

What we are really focused on is giving people the ability to get flexible access to mobility without necessarily having to go into debt.

– Scott Painter

The other key differences are that an Autonomy subscription is minimum of three months as compared to traditional Tesla lease that is 36 months. A Tesla lease will report as debt on consumers credit reports, while an Autonomy subscription will not report as debt.

The fact that a subscription, an Autonomy subscription in particular does not show up on your credit report as debt is a very big deal. Which also allows us to open up another really key value proposition, which is you can pay for it with a credit card. You can not pay a traditional car lease or a car loan with a credit card, because it is illegal to pay debt with debt.

– Scott Painter

With rising consumer credit card debt, Grayson and Scott discuss how Autonomy approaches underwriting and how the company is constantly evaluating potential subscribers from a credit risk standpoint. In addition to the consumers’s credit report, Autonomy also looks at potential subscribers insurability.

The goal here is to have dramatically better outcomes than a traditional auto lender or auto lessor. We just do not want to have bad debt on the books. We want to see good quality revenue coming in.

– Scott Painter

To scale up the business, Autonomy has placed an order for nearly 23,000 electric vehicles from 17 different automakers for a capital expenditure of $1.2 billion order. This order represents 1.2% of the projected U.S. electric vehicle production through the end of 2022.

Wrapping up the conversation, Scott discusses how he plans to expand the business in the coming years.

Follow The Road To Autonomy on Apple Podcasts

Recorded on Thursday, September 8, 2022

Understanding Congestion with Data

Avery Ash, Head of Global Public Policy and Product Strategy, INRIX joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss how data can help cities and DOTs (Department of Transportations) better understand congestion and how to properly plan for it.

The conversation begins with Avery discussing how INRIX gathers anonymous data from 500 million vehicles, mobile devices, mobile apps, parking lot operators, mobile carriers and smart meters all in real-time.

Expanding their data gathering capabilities, INRIX recently announced a partnership with GM where data from 15 million vehicles will be used in a collaborative manner to create Safety View. This product leverage the promise of connected vehicles to improve safety planning in local communities.

As local communities plan for safe road ways, data will play a vital role in determining the best way to improve safety. In Washington, D.C. for example, 20% of drivers travel at least 10 mph above the speed limit in school zones. Knowing this data, schools will be better prepared to implement safety solutions such solutions as speed bumps, crossing guards, lowering speed limits in surrounding neighborhoods and working with local law enforcement to increase the police presence.

You can not expect one silver bullet solution that is going to solve this problem.

– Avery Ash

Once the new safety measures are put in place, schools can measure the impact of the changes thanks to the data. Data is also having an impact on how cities tackle the issue of congestion. Each year, INRIX publishes their Annual Global Traffic Scorecard and this year the company reported that the average American driver lost 36 hours in 2021 due to congestion. With all of this data being gathered, how can cities effectively use the data to reduce traffic? That is the million dollar question.

In London which is the world’s most congested city, where drivers lost 148 hours to congestion in 2021, the city has not figured out how to effectively reduce traffic even as the city has a daily £15 congestion tax.

New York City is currently debating on whether to follow London’s lead and introduce a congestion tax. But NYC has a crime problem that three quarters of New Yorkers have called a very serious problem. Crime is driving New Yorkers tourists alike to single occupancy vehicles out of an abundance of caution. When planning for congestion, it’s important to take into account a variety of data points and not just rely on one source of data.

It’s really important to enter into these sorts of policy changes with eyes wide open and with a willingness and frankly a plan for how you are going to measure the impact.

– Avery Ash

Could autonomous vehicle drop-off and pick-up zones be a potential solution in the future as AVs scale and are deployed in cities around the world? Grayson and Avery discuss drop-off and pick-up zones as a potential solution for congestion in cities.

Wrapping up the conversation, Avery shares his opinion on the best way cities can prepare for the large scale deployment of autonomous vehicles.

The first step is to get a really clear understanding of how your roadways are currently being used and what behavior looks like across your road networks, across all road users.

– Avery Ash

Follow The Road To Autonomy on Apple Podcasts

Recorded on Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Developing Public Trust in Autonomous Vehicles

Tara Andringa, Executive Director of Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss developing and maintaining public trust in autonomous vehicles and trucks.

The conversation begins with Tara discussing how PAVE is working on developing public trust of autonomous vehicles.

I really like to think of it as a conversation with the public. Every single person is a stakeholder in transportation, and so what we want to do is let everyone have a voice in thinking about what the future of our transportation system looks like.

– Tara Andringa

One of the biggest hurdles to over come on the road to developing public trust in autonomous vehicles is misleading headlines that erode public trust in the technology.

This is one of our biggest challenges right now.

– Tara Andringa

These headlines are eroding public trust as they are confusing ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) with autonomous vehicles, which is causing confusion with the public. Some individuals are over-trusting that the ADAS system will operate like an autonomous vehicle, meaning that they will not have to pay attention when the vehicle is driving, potentially leading to tragic situations.

One reason these headlines are being printed is the amount of traffic that they generate for news outlets. While the traffic leads to higher ad revenue, the headlines could potentially lead to unfortunate events and an overall erosion of public trust in autonomy.

It’s much easier for them to write self-driving car then it is to say a car that under limited circumstances with an attentive human behind the wheel can handle some driving tasks. That just does not roll off the tongue. It gets simplified to really dangerous results.

– Tara Andringa

It is very important to point out that you cannot buy an autonomous vehicle today and that all autonomous vehicles are currently operated as part of a fleet. To try and clear the confusion, PAVE partnered with AAA, J.D. Power, The National Safety Council, SAE International and Consumer Reports on the CLEARING THE CONFUSION: Common Naming for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems document.

There are two different naming issues and I really want to distinguish between them. One is that we need clear language for what is available today and the other issue is that we need clear language to distinguish today’s technology from future technology.

– Tara Andringa

With over 40 different names for Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), consumers are unsure of what the technology can do, potentially causing confusion. The is why the common naming document is so important. Perhaps the common naming document can be transferred into emojis that everyone around the world no matter what language they speak can understand what it means.

There are examples from history that can help pave the road with trust. One example is The Vagabonds, a group composed of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs who made yearly camping trips in Ford vehicles between 1916 and 1924 with the goal of developing trust in the automobile. A more modern example is what Voyage did in The Villages to develop trust of autonomous vehicles with the residents of the community.

When you really give people exposure to the technology, they start thinking about it in a much more real way.

– Tara Andringa

Building upon history, a diverse group of members from leading startups, to established automakers to insurance companies to non-profits, to software providers came together to form PAVE with the goal of developing public trust in autonomous vehicles and trucks.

Wrapping up the conversation, Tara shares insights on how communities and Governments are preparing for the large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicles.

Follow The Road To Autonomy on Apple Podcasts

Recorded on Tuesday, August 23, 2022