Grayson Brulte

Grayson Brulte

@gbrulte | @gbrulte

Grayson Brulte is an Innovation Strategist, Speaker, Author, Consultant, and Autonomous Vehicle expert.

Grayson is the Co-Founder / President of Brulte & Company, a consulting firm that specializes in designing innovation and technology strategies for a global marketplace. Grayson is also the Co-Founder of Autonomous Tomorrow.

Influential in Beverly Hills, he serves as the Co-Chair of the City of Beverly Hills Mayor's Autonomous Vehicle Task Force. He is also an active member of the city’s Smart City / Technology Committee which advises the Beverly Hills City Council on technology. In 2015, the City of Beverly Hills was chosen by Google as one of America’s digital capitals.

Along with his Beverly Hills guidance, Grayson was appointed a Global Health Economics Fellow at The University of Vermont College of Medicine.

From Autonomous Vehicles to politics, to the future of entertainment and more, Grayson has written articles about innovation, technology, and strategy for Continental’s 2025AD, General Electric Reports, the MIT Sloan Executive Education [email protected] Blog, RealClear Future, Futurism, VentureBeat and The Washington Times among others.

His written opinions and insights have been used by organizations such as the Consumer Electronics Association in presentations to the Federal Trade Commission.

Grayson has spoken in front of numerous audiences, including the FLDOT’s Florida Automated Vehicles Summit, New York International Auto Show, Princeton SmartDrivingCars, Consumer Telematics Show, XII Metropolis World Congress, TU-Automotive Detroit and Autonomous Vehicles Silicon Valley.

His comments have appeared in numerous publications, including The Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Telegraph, The International Business Times and The Hollywood Reporter.

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

2028: Los Angeles’ Autonomous Summer Olympics

With the Summer Olympics coming to Los Angeles in 2028, the City of Los Angeles should take a decisive step and announce that all officially sanctioned Olympics vehicles will be autonomous, on-demand and electric.

While this is a bold statement, it’s not much different than the controversial 1984 Los Angeles Olympics strategy. The 1984 Summer Olympics which were the first privately financed Olympic Games relied heavily on television rights fees and corporate sponsorships to underwrite the costs of the games which were considered controversial at the time.

This strategy netted the 84 Summer Olympics a surplus of $250 million. The benefits of which are still being felt today. While there is no way to guarantee that an autonomous vehicle strategy would be as lucrative for the 2028 Summer Olympics, you can all but guarantee that the strategy could help to usher in the future of transportation.

In 2028, full self-driving vehicles will be on public roads around the world and common in historical early technology adopter cities. There will be an Autonomous Vehicle National Framework in place which will allow vehicles to travel over State lines, sports teams will have introduced autonomous vehicle sporting experiences, and visitors to Disney World will have rode in an autonomous vehicle to and from the airport.

In short, this sums up the perfect environment to roll out the technology in a meaningful way. Remnants of the 84 Olympics strategy could be used to showcase the autonomous vehicles on new video platforms and sell corporate sponsorships to autonomous vehicle companies and service providers.

This will demonstrate to the world that the city which brought car culture to the world is back and is exporting autonomous vehicle culture to the world. By exporting the culture, Los Angeles would also be exploring the know-how of a major city that is preparing for autonomous, on-demand and electric vehicles.

To prepare for this future, Los Angeles has to take a step back to prepare the energy grid for an electric future. A future where a majority of the vehicles on the road will run on electricity, not on gasoline.

Recently, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Board pledged to introduce a 100% zero emissions bus fleet by 2030. To achieve this noteworthy goal, the city needs to upgrade the energy infrastructure which coincides with the proposed 2028 Autonomous Olympics Strategy.

By 2030, 25% of miles driven in the United States could be in shared autonomous electric vehicles according to a recent Boston Consulting Group report. If BCG’s report proves to be accurate, the public will already be comfortable with not driving which creates new unique opportunities for sponsors. During the games, the City could designate certain lanes “autonomous lanes” to optimize the traffic flow and cut down on the amount of time it will take individuals to move about the games.

If done correctly, the 2028 Summer Olympics could usher in the future of autonomy. To achieve this goal, Los Angeles has to take decisive action by upgrading the energy infrastructure and setting the requirement that all officially authorized Olympics vehicles will be autonomous, on-demand and electric.

When and if this happens, the summer of 2028 will become known simply as the summer of autonomy.

2028: Los Angeles’ Autonomous Summer Olympics is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on LA CoMotion.

Entrepreneurs and the Need for an Autonomous Vehicle National Framework

When Level 5 autonomous vehicles are introduced to society and deployed for use the winners will not be traditional car manufacturers, but entrepreneurs who believed in the American dream and the public.

These entrepreneurs will go on to completely reimagine the future of transportation while giving mobility to those who are most in need of a reliable form of point to point, on demand transportation.

These entrepreneurs understand that autonomous vehicles (AVs) will usher in the single greatest change in society since the industrial revolution. They understand that history repeats itself and they are well prepared for what the future brings. Today, the biggest hurdle currently facing them is that there is no clear guidance on how to deploy AVs on public roads in all 50 states.

Each and every state is taking a different approach to AVs, resulting in a patchwork of inconsistent policies. This has an overall negative effect on AV development, as it is limiting where and when AVs can be deployed and tested on public roads.

This year alone, 33 states have introduced AV legislation. While this has been mostly misconstrued by the public as being innovative and good for the state’s economy, the opposite is true. Recent legislation passed in New York and Connecticut is likely to slow down the deployment and eventual adoption of autonomous vehicles instead of speeding it up.

On May 10, 2017 Governor Cuomo announced that New York is now accepting applications from companies interested in testing or demonstrating autonomous vehicles on public roads. In the announcement, Governor Cuomo stated:

“New York has emerged as one of the nation’s leading hubs for innovation, and as we invite companies and entrepreneurs to reimagine transportation technology, we will encourage the development of new, safe travel options for New Yorkers.”

While this is a bold statement with a great vision for the State of New York, it runs counterintuitive to the actual policy which was signed into law with the FY 2018 budget. New York’s autonomous vehicle policy is covered in red tape, complemented with high costs as each “test” has to be supervised by the New York State Police.

The rate for this service is $92.73 per regular hour and $131.67 per overtime hour, plus a mileage fee of 53.5 cents per mile. New York State Police estimate that for every 115 miles tested, it will cost autonomous vehicle companies $680.94.

The State of Connecticut followed in New York’s steps by limiting autonomous vehicle deployment with the passage of Senate Bill 260, which was signed by Governor Malloy on June 27, 2017. It states:

“The Office of Policy and Management, in consultation with the Departments of Motor Vehicles, Transportation and Emergency Services and Public Protection, shall establish a pilot program for not more than four municipalities to allow autonomous vehicle testers to test fully autonomous vehicles on the highways of such municipalities.”

When the legislation was signed by Governor Malloy, the headlines read “Connecticut Welcomes Autonomous Vehicles,” creating the false sense of a “win” for the state and the public. But, similar to New York’s law, Senate Bill 260 will limit innovation and discourage testing and the eventual deployment of autonomous vehicles in Connecticut due to the stringent rules and limited deployment on highways in four municipalities.

Testing of autonomous vehicles needs to happen in real-world environments on public roads with uncontrolled and unpredictable conditions. In doing so, AV developers are able to demonstrate their safety before they are eventually deployed to consumers. Individuals do not drive in controlled geo-fenced environments with police escorts; they drive in uncontrolled, unpredictable environments every day – and AVs would ultimately do the same.

While Connecticut and New York have limited the deployment of autonomous vehicles, states such as Arizona, Nevada, and Florida are leading the way on noninvasive innovative policy and executive orders that encourages the active testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roads.

The policy approaches of Arizona, Nevada, and Florida are having a positive impact on their states’ economies, spurring job creation and investment. The global passenger economy which includes autonomous vehicles is projected to be worth $7 trillion by 2050, creating opportunities for every state.

To truly unleash the economic growth that autonomous vehicles will bring, we cannot have a patchwork of regulations from state to state that limits their true potential. Autonomous vehicles have to be able to operate in all 50 states under the same rules and regulations.

The legislation on automated vehicles recently passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee is a positive step in the right direction as it will create a national framework.

While the House advances its legislation, entrepreneurs are also looking to Senator Thune and Senator Peters in the Senate to show that both parties (and chambers) can come together to find common that advances the adoption and eventual deployment of autonomous vehicles in all 50 states.

Without action, the United States stands to lose its competitive edge on autonomous vehicles if entrepreneurs follow in the footsteps of NuTonomy and deploy their initial autonomous vehicle services overseas due to regulations – ultimately benefitting economies outside of the United States.

To avoid this scenario, we need to come together in a bipartisan way to pass legislation that creates a national framework of autonomous vehicle regulations. This could eliminate the patchwork of laws and level the playing field for developers regardless of state or region, allowing entrepreneurs, start-ups and established companies to create and launch new AV services for the betterment of society.

Entrepreneurs and the Need for an Autonomous Vehicle National Framework is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on The Eno Transportation Weekly.

Will Walmart emerge as a leader of the Autonomous Revolution?

If Walmart succeeds, society will greatly benefit as the autonomous vehicle adoption timeline will be moved up greatly.

Currently, there are 4,692 Walmart retail locations (as of April 30, 2017) in the United States comprising multiple retail locations in every single State. This unparalleled reach gives Walmart a unique competitive advantage over every company currently working on autonomous vehicle technology – physical retail locations.

No other physical retailer has locations in all 50 States. Putting this into perspective, Target currently operates 1,807 stores in 49 States, while Costco operates 510 warehouses in 44 States.

With this enormous geographical reach, Walmart is in a potential unbeatable position to bring society into the autonomous era by hosting autonomous vehicle demo days in every State. Walmart sponsored autonomous vehicle demo days would help alleviate the fear of autonomous vehicles.

The fear of autonomous vehicles is a fear of the unknown as a majority of the public have never been in an autonomous vehicle, let alone gone for a ride in one. A recent survey from AAA states that 78% of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle. The reason for this data is simple, 99% of Americans have not been for a ride in an autonomous vehicle.

While 99% of Americans may not have been for a ride in an autonomous vehicle yet, 95% of U.S. consumers shopped at Walmart or on WalMart.com in 2016.

The overwhelming reason why U.S. consumers shop at Walmart is value. The same value that U.S. consumers currently enjoy at Walmart will soon be a feature of autonomous vehicle usage, as the cost of ground transportation stands to dramatically decrease in coming years.

As the cost of ground transportation decreases while efficiencies in ground transportation increase, the perfect storm is brewing for a once-in-a-generation change in society – the end of car ownership.

When car ownership is eliminated for the majority of Americans, the savings will be tremendous. On average, according to think tank RethinkX, consumers will save $5,600 per year as they transition to on-demand autonomous vehicle services.

Which leads to a potentially unbeatable value proposition: savings combined with on-demand convenience. This value proposition plays directly into one of Walmart’s core strengths – value. This value proposition was reiterated by Doug McMillon President & CEO of Walmart when the acquisition of online shopping platform Jet.com was announced:

Together, Jet.com and Walmart can win the future of retail. We’re in the business of “saving people money so that they can live better.” But the value of our customers’ time cannot be overstated. To win the future of retail, we must save customers both money and time. By combining with Jet.com’s technology, shopping experience, customers, and talent, we will do exactly that. We will exceed their expectations!

The expectations set forth in the announcement are currently being exceeded on Wall-Street as Walmart’s e-commerce sales organically grew 69% in Q1 2017.

To further continue to exceed expectations, Mr. McMillon should make another bold move by going all-in on autonomous vehicles. This could be done in one of two ways.

One, by acquiring an autonomous vehicle start-up and giving the company the resources they need to compete in the marketplace. Or two, signing a partnership with an autonomous vehicle company to offer the service exclusively to Walmart’s customers.

The global passenger mobility market, including AV’s, is projected to be worth $7 trillion by 2050. Walmart could undercut every single autonomous vehicle on price to gain share right out of the gate for a market opportunity as large as this one.

Doug McMillon has stated; “To win the future of retail, we must save customers both money and time.” Autonomous vehicles will allow Walmart to win the future of retail, as autonomous vehicles will save consumers time and money.

With fully autonomous vehicles, Walmart could fully integrate their e-commerce shopping platform into the vehicle further expanding the company’s reach.

Either decision would position Walmart well in an autonomous future. William Ruh, Chief Digital Officer at General Electric, recently told the Wall Street Journal, “Ten years ago, innovation was based on features and functions, now it’s about your business model and transforming your industry.”

It’s time for Walmart to transform the retail industry by going all in on autonomous vehicles and leveraging its unique competitive advantage – physical retail locations in all 50 States. If Walmart succeeds, society will greatly benefit as the autonomous vehicle adoption timeline will be moved up greatly.

Will Walmart emerge as a leader of the Autonomous Revolution is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on LA CoMotion.

Planning for the City of Tomorrow

Autonomy will usher in the single greatest change in society since the Industrial Revolution

Autonomous vehicles will change every aspect of our society, and it is crucial that cities start to plan today. If cities do not plan for the future of autonomy today, they will face undue economic challenges as the urban plan will have to be redesigned and rebuilt to accommodate autonomous vehicles and eventually autonomous flying transport.

Traditionally cities have been laid out in a rectilinear grid of streets, tomorrow this will no longer be true as autonomy will change our transportation wants, needs and habits. In the future, there will be cities where vehicles are not permitted to enter the heart of the city above ground. Instead, vehicles will travel autonomously below the surface and drop passengers off at dedicated drop-off and pick-up zones.

Removing vehicles from city streets will free up valuable real estate for new buildings and open space areas. Cities will truly become walkable and bikeable. For longer distances, autonomous electric shuttles (modeled after golf carts) will be able to move individuals.

When planning for the city of tomorrow, cities have to take small steps to achieve big goals. While my vision for a city will not happen tomorrow, it is important that city planners begin to plan for the city of tomorrow, today.

Local City Councils should start by passing resolutions that clearly state their city’s support for autonomous vehicles and smart city technologies. In Beverly Hills, the City Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution in April of 2016 stating that the City supports the development of an autonomous vehicle program.

At the same time, the City of Beverly Hills is currently developing a fiber-to-the-premises network which will start to come online in the Summer of 2017. Every commercial building, residence, multi-family dwelling and select pieces of infrastructure will be connected to the network. Having a scalable fiber network will allow the City to use the data gathered from connected infrastructure to optimize traffic flow as an example.

This is truly just a starting point as we do not yet know what the future holds for a connected city. But laying the groundwork for a city that is smart and connected is crucial. As part of the planning process, electric vehicle charging and smart grid technologies have to be taken into account.

Today we do not know what the standard for electric vehicle charging will become or where the vehicles will operate in the city. Cities can still plan for an autonomous connected electric future by modeling behavior and putting together a plan to lay enough electrical conduct to support high-speed electric vehicle charging.

To determine where the electric vehicles might need to be charged, cities should invite car sharing services into their cities under a data sharing agreement. An agreement which states that the car sharing service agrees to share aggregate data on the location of the vehicles and the times vehicles are used within city limits. This data will allow for a City to efficiently plan for an electric vehicle charging network and ensure there is enough electrical conduct to charge the vehicles.

Furthermore, the data gathered from car sharing services will allow Cities to model behavior as it relates to drop-off and pick-up zones. When autonomous vehicles start to operate in cities, it will be crucial for the city to have dedicated autonomous vehicle drop-off and pick-up zones with electric vehicle charging capabilities. The City of Beverly Hills is currently evaluating converting the valet zones into autonomous vehicle drop-off and pick-up zones to prepare for the future.

While the City of Beverly Hills has been at the forefront of autonomy and smart city technologies, every City in the world can be as well. To be at the forefront, cities have to play to their strengths.

If a city is located on a river or the ocean, it can increase renewable energy and optimize transportation with autonomous ships. Each and every city has their very own unique competitive advantage, they just might not know it yet.

For cities to find their competitive advantage, they should let the world know that their city is open to innovation. When the world knows, engage in open and honest conversations with the smartest minds in the world. Cities might just be surprised how easy it is to start planning for the city of tomorrow.

Planning for the City of Tomorrow is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published in the January 3, 2017 edition of AutomotiveIT.

Letter to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) re: Proposed Rules for Driverless Autonomous Vehicles

Written Comments submitted to the DMV on the Proposed Rules for Driverless Autonomous Vehicle (April 25, 2017 Public Hearing)

I am writing to express my humble opinion on the new proposed rules for fully autonomous vehicles without drivers. When drafting the rules that will govern fully autonomous vehicles in the State of California, I would ask that you take the following statement into account: a child born today will never drive.

As a parent, this is a blessing and something that I am extremely thankful for as distracted driving is a national epidemic. In 2015, more than 35,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Of these, 26% lead to deaths that were caused by distracted driving.

This is a number that unfortunately I expect will grow as individuals in the United States look at their devices over 8 billion times a day. Americans have become falsely accustomed to driving while checking their smartphones.

The only way to solve this epidemic and ensure that our roads are safe is to openly embrace fully autonomous vehicles without drivers. To achieve this goal, the DMV should remove the burdens currently put on the autonomous vehicle industry of requiring disengagement reporting. The current disengagement reports have caused misleading public narratives in the media.

Misleading narratives have a dramatic negative effect on the timeline for the adoption of fully autonomous vehicles. The general public follows the headlines, and for the most part, do not read the full report. These misleading narratives generate headlines that only increase web traffic, leading to greater advertising revenue.

This vicious cycle will only continue if the DMV requires disengagement reporting. If the DMV removes the disengagement reporting requirement, the autonomous vehicle industry would be more inclined to expand testing of fully autonomous vehicles in the State of California.

As an alternative to disengagement reporting, the DMV may want to consider ways to have autonomous vehicle companies report things the vehicles did well or safely. For example, when an autonomous vehicle came to a stop in order to avoid a collision, this could be reported.

This approach would send a much more powerful message to the public and it is inline with the DMV’s mission to serve the public by providing quality.

The DMV has to encourage the testing of fully autonomous vehicles in the State of California. Over 38 million California residents are counting on the DMV to make our roads safer.

If the DMV takes the proper action with the new proposed rules for fully autonomous vehicles without drivers, our roads will be safer. With fully autonomous vehicles, parents of children born today will never receive the life changing call that their child has been involved in a deadly car accident.

In the future, this call will never come as autonomous vehicles are taking us towards zero deaths.

I sincerely hope that the DMV will support and openly embrace fully autonomous vehicles. Our children are counting on you to do the right thing.

Letter was written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was sent to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on April 7, 2017 per the submission guidelines.