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].

Resort Wear, Instagram & Autonomous Vehicles

The future of in-vehicle shopping is boundless for brands.

In 1931, Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli introduced the world to culottes which started the modern-day trend of resort wear. This trend gained significant momentum during the golden age of flying in 1950s and 1960s. The term resort wear entered the lexicon in the 1980s when designers Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta’s resort wear collections gained significant traction with sophisticated shoppers.

In 1983, Calvin Klein was quoted telling The New York Times that “he does almost as much business for resort as he does for fall”. Today, resort wear has an estimated market value north of $20 billion and growing. In 2018, the global travel market (encompassing resort wear) was valued at $8.8 trillion, accounting for 10.5 percent of GDP. 

This year, the global travel market is projected to grow by 4 percent. With the growth of travel comes the growth of experiences. For example, Airbnb has seen 7x year-over-year growth in its experiences business since the company first introduced the product in 2016. Experiences such as those found on Airbnb are consistently being shared on Instagram with over 1 billion monthly users who actively use the platform. 

The growth of the global travel market combined with experiences and the ability for individuals to showcase their adventures to the world is an enticing opportunity for brands, especially those specializing in resort wear.

One brand, in particular, Lilly Pulitzer famously worn by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is an iconic American brand. With Lilly’s colorful prints and youthful spirit, the brand continues to thrive to this day. In 2018, the Lilly Pulitzer brand which is owned by Oxford Industries accounted for over 85% of Oxford’s revenue.

With revenue growth, colorful prints and a brand that is extremely well known in resort towns around the world such as Palm Beach, Florida opportunities abound. These opportunities reside beyond the typical realms of fashion and could expand into the world of mobility. 

Through licensing deals, brands such as Lilly Pulitzer could design bespoke autonomous resort vehicles and partner with mobility service providers to chauffeur guests around famous resort towns. These vehicles will be completely designed to reflect the look and feel of the brand while offering exclusive in-vehicle shopping experiences.

A day at the beach or an evening at the gala could turn into an exclusive shopping experience. These experiences would be highly coveted and Instagramable, building buzz and demand for Lilly Pulitzer’s fashionable line of clothing and accessories. 

It is not just brands such as Lilly Pulitzer which will benefit from the introduction and adoption of autonomous vehicles. It is all brands. Brands are the currency that fuels Instagram. On Instagram, 80% of users follow a business and over 500 million watch Instagram stories every single day.

Fashion brands with resort wear collections have a unique and competitive advantage as everyone wants to look good on their Instagramable vacations. Individuals dressing fashionably on vacation increases year-round sales of seasonal clothing and accessories.

Resort wear changed the way individuals dress for holiday. Instagram changed the way individuals present themselves to the world. Autonomous vehicles will change everything we once knew about vacationing and unlock boundless opportunities for brands.

Resort Wear, Instagram & Autonomous Vehicles is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte.

Policy Teams are the Autonomous Rockstars

Individuals working at autonomous vehicle companies on policy and government relations are the unsung heroes of the industry.

This talented group of professionals are the true unsung heroes of the industry. While engineers are leading an incredible effort to make vehicles drive themselves in all conditions on any road, in any city around the world, their incredible engineering feats would be squandered if it was not for their policy teams. 

Policy teams are actively educating elected officials on automated technology and keeping their staff informed on the technology’s progress while developing deep levels of trust. At the same time, these teams are working with industry organizations such as SAE International through their SAE Demo Days initiative, PAVE (Partners for Automated Vehicle Education) and public interest groups such as The National Safety Council (NSC) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

SAE Demo Days are a series of autonomous vehicle demo days where the public has the unique opportunity to experience the technology first hand by taking a ride in an autonomous vehicle. After the ride, guests are able to speak with industry leaders and ask questions regarding how technology will impact and eventually improve their daily lives.

Guests who have attended an SAE Demo Day in Los Angeles, Tampa, Babcock Ranch, and Detroit, have walked away with a positive impression of automated technology. An overwhelming majority of riders who have attended SAE Demo Days are excited about the technology and are willing to give up control of the vehicle to become a passenger. 

This is what policy teams do best. They build and maintain trust. Trust between elected officials and the industry. Trust between regulators and the industry. Trust between the public and the industry. Trust between investors, Wall Street, and the industry. Establishing and maintaining trust between all parties is the glue that holds this industry together and without it, there is no autonomous vehicle industry  

The secret to building and maintaining this trust is diversity. These individuals come from unique and sometimes interesting backgrounds, which are both necessary and exciting for a new emerging industry. 

With such diverse professional backgrounds as city goverment, corrections, federal government, housing, journalism, legislative aides and music, these talented individuals offer a unique insight into regulations, policy, and most importantly personalities. They are able to maneuver in ways most cannot comprehend. They have deep relationships across the board and most importantly those relationships extend across party lines. 

These individuals are not experienced automotive executives looking at the world through oil-tinted glasses. Instead, they are seasoned entrepreneurs who see the world through trust and relationships. 

Relationships run deep and the level of loyalty between this special group is unheard of in traditional industries. Policy teams actively collaborate together and share notes with one another on the best political strategy to ensure the ideal outcome for the industry and their respective companies. 

This level of collaboration ensures that when engineers develop Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles, the proper regulations are in place for deployment and the public is ready and comfortable for an autonomous future. 

Without policy teams, the entire autonomous vehicle industry would collapse, investors would lose billions of dollars and the public would never get to experience the future of mobility. This is why policy teams are the autonomous rockstars.

Policy Teams are the Autonomous Rockstars is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte.

Florida is Setting the Pace in Autonomous Vehicle Innovation

The regulatory environment in Florida under the leadership of Governor Scott and State Senator Brandes is helping to usher in the Autonomy Economy.

On the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Bottom Line public affairs program, I discuss innovation in the autonomous vehicle community and Florida’s leadership in autonomous vehicle regulation.

Every aspect of transportation and mobility is going to change. For example, a child born in the last four years will never drive a vehicle on a public road. Full level 5 autonomous vehicles will take children to and from school with the parents of those children being fully in charge of the experience as when the child can exit the vehicle.

The future of transporting children to school in autonomous vehicles will be possible in Florida because of the regulatory environment that the State of Florida has created under the leadership of Governor Scott and State Senator Brandes.

Florida is opening the doors to allow the future of innovation to prosper. From children riding to school in autonomous vehicles to the tourism industry developing niche autonomous vehicle services, we are only beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible.

New businesses will be created in Florida around autonomy due to the regulatory environment and these homegrown businesses will help the State to usher in the Autonomy Economy.

Why America Needs a National Autonomous Vehicle Policy

Most concede the current debates regarding the role of federal and state governments in autonomous vehicle development and deployment are a healthy part this new technology’s evolving transformation of society.

At the time of this writing in the fall of 2017, the U.S. House and Senate had outlined essentially similar bills intended to establish a national framework for autonomous vehicle development, testing and deployment.

The details and differences in these bills will of course be hammered out, but there are manifest reasons why some type of national “framework” of guidance, rules and statues addressing autonomous vehicle development is a good prospect for America’s cities.

A national framework of common, consistent rules and regulations will allow cities to enact policies that benefit residents and encourage businesses to invest in the metro area. Cities could depend on these uniform policies to support initiatives that enhance the standard of living for residents living in a high-density environment: from reducing traffic congestion and quieting the streets to making the energy grid more responsive and reliable.

Electrification’s mixed promise

As the internal combustion engine begins to decline and electric motors become the more-dominant propulsion option, cities will be compelled to upgrade their energy infrastructure sooner rather than later; if cities do not start to bolster their energy grids now, the probability of rolling blackouts could become a frequent reality. Spurred by the needs of autonomous and increasingly-electrified personal and shared vehicles, cities could upgrade by adopting smart-grid technology, with battery storage and solar backup to support the increasing demand from electric vehicles.

Although the pace of adoption is indeterminate, vehicle electrification seems inevitable; UBS, for example predicts that by 2025, 14% of global vehicle sales will be electric—up from 1% today.

In the UK, the potential for significant new loads to cripple the grid perhaps is more dire than previously believed; the average household’s electric service reportedly cannot accommodate charging an electric vehicle and boiling a kettle at the same time. For now, that means merely a blown fuse, but in the future, a dramatic increase in electricity demand could lead to much more critical consequences.

Upgrading the energy infrastructure is a clear example of how a city can play to its unique strengths. For autonomous vehicle developers looking to test and deploy services in cities, a robust and ever-upgrading energy grid is an attractive incentive to operate in that town.

Cites as laboratories

With a national autonomous vehicle framework, cities will become the labs of tomorrow, to the benefit of all. Autonomous-vehicle technologies, services and business models will be perfected on the streets of cities under real-world circumstances, rather than in proving grounds.

Cities should experiment with new ideas and invite autonomous vehicle companies to operate in their city by showcasing their strengths. In Los Angeles alone, there is nearly 500 miles of paved streets on which to test autonomous capabilities.

The city of Los Angeles could leverage this uniquely “LA” asset, creating dedicated autonomous-vehicle lanes similar to the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes already found on Southern California’s freeways. These lanes could operate during select times or on select roadways or corridors.

Dedicated autonomous vehicle lanes could bring a palpable reduction in congestion—if Los Angeles updated its traffic signals with artificial intelligence. The stoplights would learn traffic patterns in real-time and update signaling accordingly.

In the future, on-demand autonomous vehicles will replace traditional buses, as they are more cost-efficient to operate and more convenient for the public. During select times throughout the day, cities could designate autonomous-vehicle lanes as school-bus lanes for children traveling to school. The dedicated AV bus lanes would ensure that children would get to school quickly and safely. During non-school commuting hours, these lanes would revert to conventional duty to channel autonomous vehicle traffic.

SAE Level 5 autonomous vehicles with artificial intelligence would be programmed to pick up a child at the correct time each morning. No more worrying about school delays: parents will automatically receive a notification advising of the school delay. Adults will know the autonomous school vehicle will automatically show up at the newly appointed time, allowing everyone’s morning to be more productive.

Unleashing the “autonomy economy”

These advances will come most quickly and efficiently only with an established national autonomous vehicle framework, as entrepreneurs will be encouraged to push the envelope and invest in new technologies that can scale across 50 states, all operating under the same rules and regulations.

Without a standardized national framework, companies and developers will hold back investment and innovations, perhaps looking to deploy services overseas, while assertive states such as Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Texas will continue to attract autonomous vehicle companies that make the decision to invest in local economies and create new high-paying jobs because of progressive autonomous-vehicle laws.

A national autonomous vehicle framework will unleash the “autonomy economy,” creating millions of new high-paying jobs in the United States. Cities will be able to play to their strengths and support innovation and local investment. Cities will be able to experiment with new ideas and implement policies and practices that better serve the public.

Cities truly are the labs of tomorrow—and a national autonomous vehicle policy will help automated driving technology reach its full potential for enhancing urban life.

Why America Needs a National Autonomous Vehicle Policy is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published in SAE International Autonomous Vehicle Engineering Magazine.

The Bumpy Road to Mobility-as-a-Service and What Adobe Can Teach Us

As the auto industry shifts from an ownership model to a Mobility-as-a-Service subscription model, the industry can learn a lot from Adobe.

On April 23, 2012 when Adobe announced the Adobe Creative Cloud SaaS (Software as a Service) model, the company billed the service as a radical new way of providing tools and services.

This was a radical move at the time but in hindsight, it was a brilliant initiative by Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO. During the first years of the transition to this new model, investors questioned the decision as net income dropped by almost 35% in 2013.

Almost a year after the initial announcement, Adobe announced it would no longer sell the Creative Suite software. Consumers would have to subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud to be able to use the software. This caused a considerable amount of uproar amongst Adobe customers, including over 50,000 signatures demanding the company to abandon the subscription model.

Some would argue that Adobe was actually helping small businesses and the average consumer as the company eliminated the thousand dollar investment to buy the software. Setting aside the Creative Suite software also played a part in countering the piracy market. Today, Adobe’s business is growing 22% year-over-year and the stock is up over 327% since the initial announcement in April 2012.

The same thing will happen in the auto industry when auto manufacturers stop selling vehicles to the public and transition to Mobility-as-a-Service subscriptions. Initially, publicly traded auto manufacturers will report large drops in income as vehicle sales will fall considerably and subscription revenue will not offset the drop in revenue.

There will be a considerable amount of uproar considering the vehicle will no longer belong to an individual and that individual will not be able to drive the vehicle. To help alleviate the uproar, vehicle manufacturers selling Mobility-as-a-Service subscriptions should host autonomous vehicle demo days in cities around the world to introduce the public to the service and explain the benefits.

Mobility-as-a-Service vehicles will be fully autonomous (SAE Level 5) with no steering wheel and no way for a human driver to take control of the vehicle. This will cause a certain amount of anxiety among individuals who are accustomed to driving a vehicle on a regular basis.

These vehicles will be shared and summoned on-demand when needed. The vehicles will not park at an individual’s residence, school or office: instead, they will always be in use. When an individual needs a vehicle, they will simply summon one with a click in an app or a voice command to their voice assistant such as Alexa. Depending on the activity, individuals will be able to summon an SUV or a coupe.

Mobility-as-a-Service subscriptions will be billed to a credit card on a monthly basis with a cancel anytime policy, eliminating the need for credit checks, down payments and repossessions. In short, this will lower the overall risk to the underwriter of the vehicle.

Today, we are starting to see the early signs of a Mobility-as-a-Service subscription model with Cadillac’s BOOK service. The BOOK service is a way for Cadillac to model behavior prior to rolling out an autonomous vehicle subscription service.

When a Mobility-as-a-Service such as Cadillac’s BOOK is introduced, the subscription will travel with individuals from city to city, having a negative impact on the overall car rental market.

In 2016, the total U.S. car rental market generated over $28 billion in revenue from car rental operations. On average, there were 2.3 million rental cars in service in the United States in 2016. As we move towards Mobility-as-a-Service, revenue generated from car rental operations will dramatically decrease as consumers opt for subscriptions instead of rentals.

The transition to Mobility-as-a-Service will occur slowly at first with accelerated adoption rates in select markets. When this transition occurs, the future of transportation will be ushered in giving on-demand mobility to every individual around the world.

While we are still in the early days of Mobility-as-a-Service experiments and autonomy, Adobe has clearly demonstrated that the road from a traditional business to a subscription service is fruitful and can lead to profound organic revenue growth, profits and return on investment for shareholders.

The Bumpy Road to Mobility as a Service and What Adobe Can Teach Us is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on LA CoMotion.