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].

The Home of Aviation Innovation

Ernest Huffman, Aviation Planning and Education Program Manager, North Central Texas Council of Governments joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss why North Texas is the home of aviation innovation.

The conversation begins with Ernest sharing a story about how a high school teacher changed his life and put him on the course of becoming a pilot, which lead to a career in aviation.

Looking at [the aviation industry] from a holistic, macro perspective and my early background in doing some economist work, I think of aviation as a competitive industry, a means for folks to get out of their current situations in urban communities.

– Ernest Huffman

Putting his words into action, Ernest worked with Tuskegee NEXT to inspire at-risk youth to explore career opportunities in the aviation industry.

I had my pilot’s license before I had my driver’s license.

– Ernest Huffman

Shifting the conversation to North Texas, Grayson asks Ernest about the North Central Texas Council of Governments NASA partnership to study the potential of drone technology and integrate it into future transportation plans.

The North Texas region is emerging as the home of aviation innovation due to the economic strength and the business climate in the region.

We like the growth. We are going to keep attracting these great businesses here.

– Ernest Huffman

In February, a Bell autonomous drone successfully delivered a package at Hillwood’s AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone out of the line of sight which requires significant regulatory approval.

It is a monumental achievement. To do it in the current regulatory environment that we have for those types of flights is an achievement.

– Ernest Huffman

Looking to the future, there are plans for a more significant flight to take place in 2023. Taking it one step further, Grayson asks Ernest if there are plans to connect the DFW airport to the Dallas Cowboys football stadium with an eVTOL service. This type of experience would enhance the fan experience on GameDay for fans who fly into Dallas for the game.

That is definitely a use case that we are exploring heavily.

– Ernest Huffman

To enable this future, there has to be a public trust. The public has to trust that the eVTOL aircraft will get them there on time and safely. NCTOG is working on this issue through their Unmanned Aircraft Systems Safety and Integration Initiative.

Wrapping up the conversation, Ernest shares his vision of how advanced air mobility will be rolled out in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

Follow The Road To Autonomy on Apple Podcasts

Recorded on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.

Trucking is The Right Problem To Solve

Don Burnette, Co-Founder & CEO of Kodiak Robotics joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss why trucking is the right problem to solve.

The conversation begins with Don discussing the early days of the Google Self-Driving Project.

The early days were really an exciting time for those of us who were aware of the self-driving industry, which was very few folks at the time.

– Don Burnette

It was during this time that Don began to understand the business use case challenges that would soon come to face the self-driving car industry. During these early days, the team on the Google Self-Driving Car Project also thought about trucking, but it was dismissed.

It was dismissed fairly early on, not because of technical reasons, just because at the time we all envisioned this as a very sexy technology. The leadership at Google was really focused on personal mobility. They wanted people to be able to touch and interact with the technology in a very direct way. So robo-taxis was the obvious direction for us to try and head.

– Don Burnette

Looking at the trucking industry and what is happening today with the driver shortage, the growth of e-commerce, and the shortages in the global supply chain, it becomes very obvious that trucking is the right problem to solve.

You have this gap that can actually can be solved, I think fairly uniquely with autonomy.

– Don Burnette

In the autonomous vehicle industry, we are beginning to see “The Great Pivot To Trucking” as the economics of autonomous trucking are far greater than those of the current robo-taxi models.

It is the combination of the technical challenge combined with the commercial viability that I think is pushing other programs toward trucking.

– Don Burnette

It’s not only the economics of trucking that is appealing, it’s the fact the industry as a whole is welcoming autonomous trucking. The technology is not disrupting the market, it is helping to shore up industry and the United States economy.

You are seeing that market really embrace it in a way that is unprecedented up until today.

– Don Burnette

Wall Street is beginning to pick up on the financial upside of autonomous trucking as several companies have gone public this year.

Wall Street along with most of the AV industry has finally realized that the strong business case for autonomous trucks has been defined.

– Don Burnette

Recently several analysts went on a tour to meet with autonomous trucking companies and came away impressed with the current state of technology. As Wall Street takes notice and Kodiak’s competitors have gone public, Grayson asks Don why Kodiak has not gone public. Don shares his honest insight into why Kodiak has opted to stay private.

Shifting the conversation to Kodiak’s Generation 4 Autonomous Truck, Grayson asks Don about the company’s mirror pods innovation. Mirror pods were designed to be repaired or replaced in the field by non-skilled technicians with just four bolts.

As Kodiak prepares to build out its business, Don shares Kodiak’s business model and the role that Kodiak Express and the Kodiak Driver will play in scaling the business.

Once the safety case is proven out, we are also going to offer technology as a subscription. This is where customers can run the Kodiak Driver technology on the trucks that they own specifically.

– Don Burnette

Wrapping up the conversation, Grayson asks Don if he views Kodiak as more of a trucking company or a technology company.

Follow The Road To Autonomy on Apple Podcasts

Recorded on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

Deploying Sustainable Autonomous Vehicles

Prashanthi Raman, Senior Director, Global Government Affairs, Cruise joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss deploying sustainable autonomous vehicles.

The conversation begins with Prashanthi discussing why she wants to make the world a better place and what she learned from her mother.

To [my mother] honor, reputation, people being able to trust you is something that you need to hold sacred. That is something that I really carry with me.

– Prashanthi Raman

With a background steeped in health care, Grayson asks Prashanthi when she thinks health care services will be available in autonomous vehicles. When health care services become available in autonomous vehicles, lives will be able to be saved. For example, when a rider experiences a cardiac event in the vehicle, the vehicle will be able to be rerouted to a hospital with the doctors on duty being notified instantly about the incoming patient.

While this is the future, Cruise is currently focused on impact. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cruise delivered 1.6 million meals and groceries to families and individuals in San Francisco.

Operating in San Francisco, the conversation naturally shifts to policy and what it takes to deploy an autonomous vehicle in the City of San Fransico. Prior to joining Cruise, Prashanthi was the Head of State and Local Government Relations at Lyft where she learned the importance of educating consumers and elected officials on new and emerging mobility technologies.

Autonomous vehicles will have a profound positive impact on society when they are deployed in meaningful numbers.

Cruise’s desire is to launch into ride-sharing in a fleet-managed approach that is more accessible and affordable to more people. We want to do so in a more sustainable way than any other AV company.

– Prashanthi Raman

When Cruise deploys in a city, they want to be part of the local community. Being based in San Fransico and the 2021 baseball playoffs underway, Grayson asks Prashanthi when the SF Giants win their next World Series title, will the parade feature Cruise vehicles? While it’s always a possibility, Giants legend Willie Mays has been for a ride so you never know what the future might hold.

What we do know that the future holds is sustainable autonomous vehicles. Sustainability is something that is core to the Cruise mission and near and dear to the team’s heart.

We actually think that real innovation is zero-emission.

– Prashanthi Raman

Wrapping up the conversation, Grayson, and Prashanthi discuss Cruise’s holistic approach to sustainability.

Follow The Road To Autonomy on Apple Podcasts

Recorded on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

Continuous Commitment to Innovation

Abhijit Ganguly, Managing Director, Goodyear Ventures joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss Goodyear’s continuous commitment to innovation.

The conversation begins with Abhijit discussing Goodyear’s continuous commitment to innovation since 1898.

We have a rich history and proven track record of innovating in the mobility space.

– Abhijit Ganguly

At CES 2020, Goodyear announced the Goodyear Ventures fund.

We announced the fund at CES with the goal of letting everyone know that we were ready to build these strategic relationships with startups.

– Abhijit Ganguly

A little over a year has passed since the fund was launched. With a successful exit already under the fund’s belt with the IPO of TuSimple, Grayson asks Abhijit what his thoughts are on the current state of autonomy. With the global truck driver shortage and the rapid expansion of e-commerce, a perfect storm is created for the development and deployment of autonomous trucks.

The Port of LA which handles 40% of the nation’s imports is currently experiencing a backlog that is having a profound negative impact on the supply chain. Autonomous trucks can help to shore up the supply chain and deliver goods in an efficient manner. Goodyear Ventures is currently looking at investment opportunities around autonomous delivery and the supply chain.

We are actively looking to support the acceleration of these trends and support them from our products and services building capabilities for new companies.

– Abhijit Ganguly

Shifting the conversation to tires and the impact that tires have on delivery, Grayson, and Abhijit discuss Goodyear’s SightLine, a suite of tire intelligence solutions. Since tires are the only thing on a vehicle that makes contact with the road, tires have the unique ability to gather real-time intelligent data on the driving conditions.

We have the ability now to start telling the vehicle what the tire is feeling from the road. That knowledge allows the vehicle to drive safer and in a more efficient way.

– Abhijit Ganguly

Electric vehicles will have a different set of requirements for tires, partly due to the weight of the vehicle and the sudden acceleration of the vehicles. With a growing EV market, Goodyear is actively supporting the trend of electrification by investing in tire technology.

As EVs will need to charge, Goodyear Ventures invested in AmpUp to learn about charging. Today there a several charging companies in the market and no standard on payment. A software layer that allows for a seamless payment experience no matter which charging service that a consumer is using will be one of the keys to the mass adoption of electric vehicles.

Looking to the future of mobility, Grayson asks Abhijit to share his vision of the future of mobility

I do feel like mobility can be much safer than it is today. It can be much more efficient than it is today. I hope it can be more fun than what it is today.

– Abhijit Ganguly

Wrapping up the conversation, Grayson, and Abhijit discuss the role that private capital plays in the advancement of autonomous mobility.

Follow The Road To Autonomy on Apple Podcasts

Recorded on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.

A Brave New World

Cameron Gieda, Director of Business Development, Spartan Radar joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss why 4D radar is a brave new world.

The conversation begins with Grayson and Cameron talking about surfing, sharks, and the impact Jaws had on society. The movie and the music make you think twice before getting in the water now.

Learning to kinda overcome those primal fears and other fears that were generated by media is a challenge, but it is quite cathartic when you can finally relax in that situation understanding the odds.

– Cameron Gieda

Comparing and contrasting surfing with mobility, Grayson and Cameron discuss the unique similarities between riding a wave and find a parking spot at the beach. Shifting the conversation to autonomy and when Cameron worked at AutonomouStuff, his office was stop #1 for most mobility start-ups in Silicon Valley. He shares his thoughts on the current state of autonomy.

Covid helped drive far greater adoption of autonomy in the logistical space.

– Cameron Gieda

Staying on the theme of logistics and autonomy, Grayson and Cameron discuss the global supply chain and how autonomous trucking can help shore up the global supply chain. The Port Of LA is currently experiencing a massive shortage of trucks and workers which is forcing ships to idle out at sea for days until there is the capacity to unload the cargo.

During a recent weekend at the beach, Cameron counted over 70 ships waiting to go into the Port of LA.

It’s the very beginning of our economic funnel.

– Cameron Gieda

There is a glaring need for U.S. Ports to embrace autonomous trucking as this technology will have a positive impact on the U.S. economy. To get here, though we need political leadership, however that this something that is lacking at the moment.

Shifting the conversation to radar, Cameron explains why we joined Spartan Radar and what he saw in the company’s technology.

The main reason I came to talk to Spartan was really because they look at it very differently. They take a very holistic systems engineering approach to the design.

– Cameron Gieda

Spartan radar can run on low-power ARM chips which is a competitive advantage for the company. The trend towards low-power will continue to accelerate as society begins to shift towards electric vehicles. After consumers shift to electric vehicles, they will shift to autonomous vehicles.

Radar will not only play an important role in the driving aspect of autonomy but also the health and wellness of passengers and drivers of SAE Level 2 and 3 vehicles.

You can use radar to monitor the heart rate of a driver. It can see through your chest and basically listen to your heart.

– Cameron Gieda

Being able to detect a heart rate will save lives. Grayson and Cameron go on to discuss all of the health and wellness benefits that radar will be able to deliver in-vehicle.

Wrapping up the conversation, Grayson, and Cameron discuss what’s next for Spartan Radar.

Follow The Road To Autonomy on Apple Podcasts

Recorded on Tuesday, September 9, 2021.