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].

Augmented Reality: Window To The World

Chen-Ping Yu, Co-Founder & CEO, Phiar joins Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss why augmented reality is the window to the world.

The conversation begins with Chen-Ping discussing his time at Stony Brook University followed by Harvard. At Harvard, Chen-Ping was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Cognitive and Neural Lab where he studied the brain.

I had the pleasure to work with a group of cognitive and neural scientists to combine what they have learned about the brain with deep-learning computer vision.

– Chen-Ping Yu

It was during his time driving in Boston, that Chen-Ping had an “ah-ha” moment that would lead to the founding of Phiar.

Why couldn’t someone show me my route by overlaying that to the actual camera feed instead of drawing it on a map?

– Chen-Ping Yu

Since no one was doing it, Chen-Ping decided to go for it and solve the problem that he experienced driving in Boston. He set out to build AR navigation.

Phiar was founded in 2017 when VR (virtual reality) was dominating headlines and film studios were building labs to better understand the technology. Consumers were associating Google Glass with AR (augmented reality) leading to a general misunderstanding in the marketplace about what is AR.

Today, a lot has changed. Studios are no longer investing in VR (virtual reality) and companies such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are all rumored to be working on AR products.

Chen-Ping goes onto share his thoughts on the current state of AR and why software combined with hardware is the path forward.

AR is absolutely exciting.

– Chen-Ping Yu

With a clear understanding of software integrated with hardware being the path forward, Chen-Ping decided to focus on the automotive market. Software integrated with hardware is the Apple model.

Grayson asks Chen-Ping what his thoughts are on a possible AR automotive services business for Apple.

People are looking at automotive vehicles as the next big platform for software. Even automotive players are trying to redesign and upgrade their whole architecture into a more software-driven [approach].

– Chen-Ping Yu

Looking to the future, Grayson asks Chen-Ping if Phiar will stay platform-agnostic and what his thoughts are on a potential Phiar App Store. It is possible, but only time will tell.

Shifting the conversation back to services, Grayson talks about why Airbnb will be one of the biggest benefactors of augmented reality in vehicles. In a post-COVID world, there will be a huge demand for experiences. AR will be able to unlock digital experiences that are not possible today. This will create massive new revenue opportunities for companies such as Airbnb.

Wrapping up the conversation, Chen-Ping and Grayson discuss how to make an augmented reality map without pre-mapping and the role that AI plays in enabling AR.

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Recorded on Friday, March 12, 2021.

The New Economy of Movement

Chris Ballinger, Founder & CEO, MOBI (Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative) joins Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss the new economy of movement.

The conversation begins with Chris discussing international economics, monetary economics, and private money.

Marginalism. The idea that prices are determined on the margin. That it is the margin that matters. It’s the marginal transaction that determines the cost, the opportunity, the opportunity cost.

– Chris Ballinger

With over 28 years of experience in the finance industry, Chris shares his thoughts on digital currency and the potential impact of regulation on digital currencies.

Touching on Facebook’s Libra digital currency, Chris explains why Government policy and Government opposition can change the path and plans of an organization as large as Facebook. Breaking this down further, Chris lays out the reasons why Government’s around the world opposed the new digital currency.

The plan was to hold reserves in relativity safe sovereign and bank assets. Well, the problem is if you are running a reserve and your revenue source is carried on that reserve, then there is a strong temptation to stretch a little bit, to take a little more risk to increase the return.

That works out great in most environments, but as soon as you have a shock, then the additional risk, the additional leverage that has been put in can cause problems.

If you have a breakdown or a sudden failure of trust in a global world currently that is out of Government control, then you have a real problem.

– Chris Ballinger

With the crypto market becoming extremely heated, Grayson asks Chris about financial bubbles and what patterns he saw during his years on trading floors. After Chris’ insight, Grayson asks how those patterns might apply to today’s low-rate environment.

The underlying technology of cryptocurrency is blockchain. With a strong foundation laid in financial markets, Grayson shifts the conversation to discuss what is possible when applying blockchain to mobility.

You can link the vehicle’s digital twin (decentralized digital identifier) to location. If you can link location and the vehicle’s trusted identity, then you can create a trusted trip.

If you can create a trusted trip, you can pay as you go for things. You can do micro-tolling, you can do road usage charge, you can do usage-based insurance, there are all kinds of things that now become possible.

– Chris Ballinger

Grayson expands the conversation into in-vehicle commerce and what is possible when the vehicle has a trusted identity. Chris discusses the digital VIN and the role it will play in the future of digital commerce.

A digital VIN in the future will be a “living birth certificate” which helps to eliminate fraud such as lemons and increase trust in the chain of custody.

[With blockchain] you can trace the chain of custody of data back to the original source.

– Chris Ballinger

Telematics combined with a digital VIN opens the opportunity to fund infrastructure development in new ways such as micro-tolling. Doing this digitally will save tax-payers money as Governments will not have to build-out physical tolling infrastructure. This is all possible with an in-vehicle digital wallet.

With everything being connected and tracked, privacy concerns are being raised by consumers. Chris explains why the data belongs to the customer and what is being done to protect consumer privacy using mobility services with blockchain.

On March 8, 2021, The MOBI Connected Mobility Data Marketplace (CMDM) Working Group released standards to enable a marketplace that could securely commodify mobility data and ensure data privacy for mobility users.

Standards will play a large role in the future of mobility. Standards will enable the future of autonomy. Grayson asks Chris if standards are needed to enable secure in-vehicle commerce.

Money is a standard. Driving on the left or right side of the road in different countries in a standard.

– Chris Ballinger

Indeed they are needed. Chris goes onto explain coordinated autonomy and why standards are needed to make this a reality.

Wrapping up the conversation, Grayson and Chris discuss digital IDs and how they will enable in-vehicle commerce. Chris explains how digital IDs can enable autonomous organizations. These organizations will be autonomous vehicles that will be able to conduct commerce autonomously on the edge and buy other less profitable autonomous vehicles.

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Recorded on Friday, March 5, 2021.

Florida: A Growing and Diversified Economy

Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research, Florida Chamber Foundation joins Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss the diverse and growing economy of Florida.

The conversation begins with Dr. Parrish discussing the current state of the Florida economy and The Florida Scorecard. Expanding upon the conversation about the economy, Dr. Parrish talks about The Florida 2030 Blueprint and what the Florida Chamber is doing to prepare for the continued growth of the Florida population.

Before COVID, Florida since 2015 was creating 1 out of every 11 jobs in this county.

– Dr. Jerry Parrish

Today 800 net new individuals a day are moving to Florida.

Because of COVID, you will see more and more people move to Florida.

– Dr. Jerry Parrish

Individuals are moving to Florida for the quality of life, job opportunities, and the #1 Higher Education System in the United States.

The State also has a vast hospitality and tourism industry that employs hundreds of thousands of individuals in the State.

Our tourism industry has been the trainer of people for all industries in the State of Florida and has been for a long time.

– Dr. Jerry Parrish

Individuals working in these jobs understand people skills and how to deal with conflicts without escalating the situation. This is an incredible skill that is tremendously valuable for any industry. Dr. Parrish goes onto discuss why these skills are so important.

The Space Coast is back and operating at full capacity once again with the average manufacturing job in Brevard County paying $90,000 a year.

Over the past few years, Florida has been growing manufacturing jobs at 3 times the U.S. rate.

– Dr. Jerry Parrish

Florida also has a thriving agricultural business with over 47,000 commercial farms and ranches using over 9.45 million acres in the States to farm and raise livestock.

Palm Beach County is the #1 agricultural county in the State of Florida.

– Dr. Jerry Parrish

The agricultural industry in Florida employs over a million individuals and contributes more than $131 billion to the state’s economy each year.

With an influx of tech companies relocating to Florida and creating new high-paying jobs, Grayson asks Dr. Parrish what new businesses might be founded in Florida over the next 10 years.

Florida has a booming autonomous vehicle industry with Argo AI operating and expanding in Miami-Dade County. With the signing of HB 311 by Governor DeSantis, Florida became the most AV-friendly State in the country. With great weather, an incredible talent pool and some of the best universities in the world, the future of the autonomous vehicle industry is being developed in Florida.

With the Florida 2030 Blueprint, we are setting the stage for by 2030, we can have an economy that nobody will want to leave. There won’t be any reason why somebody wouldn’t want to come to Florida to do business.

Florida will be a business-friendly State. We will have the technology that we need. We will have the talent that we need. Talent is the key to economic development.

– Dr. Jerry Parrish

Wrapping up the conversation, Grayson and Dr. Parrish discuss Mayor Suarez‘s savvy use of Twitter to recruit tech companies to Miami and what Florida’s economy will look like in the future.

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Recorded on Friday, February 23, 2021.

The Big Idea: A Conversation with Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes

Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes joins Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss the big idea and why Florida is the perfect environment to operate autonomous vehicles.

The conversation begins with Senator Brandes discussing his experience serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a transportation officer. During his time in Iraq, Senator Brandes read Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman. This book had a profound effect on him and changed the way he sees the world, chooses to govern, and propose legislation.

Operating convoys in Iraq also had a tremendous impact on Senator Brandes. One that would lead to one Senator Brandes Big Ideas a Florida State Legislator.

It would be a lot safer if I did not have to have soldiers in these convoys and they could operate autonomously.

– Florida State Senator Brandes

As an incoming State Senator in 2012, Senator Brandes wanted to distinguish himself from a great class of legislators. To do this, he reached into his past experience and embraced a Big Idea – Autonomous Vehicles after watching Sebastian Thrun‘s Google’s driverless car TED Talk over a dozen times.

There is one big idea in every area of public policy.

– Florida State Senator Brandes

To make this Big Idea a reality, Senator Brandes reached out to Google and sought their assistance. The legislation which made testing autonomous vehicles on public roads legal passed unanimously and HB 1207 was signed by Governor Rick Scott in 2012.

HB 1207 laid the groundwork for what Florida has become today, the Capital of Autonomous Vehicle deployments and commercialization in North America.

Florida has the best laws on the books as it relates to self-driving. We have the best laws on the books as it relates to ride-sharing.

– Florida State Senator Brandes

Innovative companies have a long history of moving and expanding their operations to Florida from California partly due to regulation. This trend started in earnest when Walt Disney began acquiring land in the 1960’s to develop Walt Disney World.

Today, history is repeating itself as innovative autonomous vehicle companies such as Argo AI and Luminar are operating in the State. They are creating high-paying jobs and having a positive impact on the economy.

You have to be competitive globally, not just amongst the States. What can we do to remove the barriers? Florida has the perfect environment to operate these types of vehicles.

– Florida State Senator Brandes

When you combine Florida’s tourism industry with frictionless mobility services, magic happens.

Florida is a mobility story as much as it is anything else. Whether it be Henry Flagler or Walt Disney. These are all mobility stories.

– Florida State Senator Brandes

From autonomous mobility to space flights, Florida is leading on innovation. Florida is also leading on issues such as criminal justice reform. It is an issue that Senator Brandes has championed as it is a big idea.

Senator Brandes shares the story of how he first became interested in criminal justice reform. It’s a powerful heart-wrenching story. A story that leads Senator Brandes to take a leadership position working on solutions that will have a positive impact on society.

Another issue that is impacting businesses and schools today is COVID-19. Senator Brandes has filed legislation to protect health care providers, businesses, and schools from COVID-19 liabilities. The conversation evolves into a discussion about Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision to open schools and the long-term positive impact on children in Florida.

It was the best decision [Governor Ron DeSantis] made since the beginning of COVID.

– Florida State Senator Brandes

With schools open, businesses open, companies are flocking to Florida in droves. The trend did not just start with COVID, it just accelerated. The trend began when Argo AI chose Miami as one of the autonomous vehicle test cities in 2018.

We have created this environment where technology can thrive and where the taxes are of a lower nature. Where it’s a strong incentive to consider relocating here.

– Florida State Senator Brandes

Wrapping up the conversation, Grayson and Senator Brandes discuss the major mobility changes they see happening in Florida over the next ten years. Including how the State is preparing for the transition to electric vehicles and how safely evacuate individuals’ electric vehicles during a hurricane.

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Recorded on Friday, February 19, 2021.

Human Intuition for Autonomous Vehicles

James Gowers, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development, Perceptive Automata joins Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss developing human intuition for autonomous vehicles.

The conversation begins with James talking about leading the Harvard Business School soccer team to two National Championships and what he learned about teamwork as an Army Ranger in the German Federal Armed Forces.

Being part of a team, being a leader does not mean that you are autocratic. The more important way to lead is by influencing. Being a solid part of the team, carrying your weight, and leading by example.

– James Gowers

With a clear understanding of the rigors of leadership and a background in business from the Harvard Business School, Grayson asks James how he first joined the autonomous vehicle industry.

James shares a wonderful story of how a friendship with Mark Wheeler, Co-Founder & CTO of DeepMap led to him joining the industry. After a successful run at DeepMap, James joined Perceptive Automata to help them successfully raise their Series A round.

Getting from Series A to Series B is hard work.

– James Gowers

Perceptive Automata is working on developing human-like intuition for autonomous vehicles as driving is inherently a social activity. James goes onto explain how Perceptive Automata is developing machine-learning models that can glance at a human and make powerful predictions on their intent to cross the road.

Grayson asks James if the machine-learning models can learn situational awareness. For example, can the models learn if an individual is walking, wearing headphones to staring at their phones, and generally not paying attention to the surroundings? Yes. James explains how the models capture behavior.

Perceptive Automata’s approach to situational awareness caught the attention of Jim Adler, Founding Managing Director of Toyota AI Ventures which invested in the company’s Series A $16m round.

Along with the investment, Jim wrote a Medium blog post titled: “Predicting the World Around Autonomous Vehicles: Our Investment in Perceptive Automata” about “theory of mind” and why Toyota AI Ventures invested in Perceptive Automata.

In the Medium blog post, Jim wrote the following:

As I’ve said before, cars are “social.” They exist alongside other human-operated vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. When we’re behind the wheel, we constantly survey the roads looking for clues to help predict what other people will do. Will that teenage skateboarder jaywalk? Will the minivan driver speed up as I try to make an unprotected left-hand turn? Who goes first at a four-way stop if we all arrive at the same time?

People use a “theory of mind” to face those kind of split-second decisions all of the time. However, what comes relatively easily to us humans is incredibly difficult for autonomous vehicles. To improve safety for passengers and pedestrians alike, it is so important to have an intuitive self-driving system that is able to recognize, understand, and predict human behavior.

– Jim Adler, Founding Managing Director of Toyota AI Ventures

Jim’s Medium blog post summed up Perceptive Automata’s approach to situational awareness brilliantly. This approach is critical for autonomous vehicles which are deployed in dense urban environments.

Grayson and James go onto discuss prediction models and planning for scenarios such as a baseball game a European football game getting out. Creating a situation where large groups of individuals are pouring out on the sidewalks and the roadway.

Autonomous vehicles have to learn and be prepared for all situations. From large groups of individuals at sporting events to first-responder vehicles traveling down the road at high-speeds. Driving is unpredictable and human intuition is a critical part of driving safely.

Perceptive Automata is developing human intuition for autonomous vehicles to make the roads safer for both passengers in autonomous vehicles and pedestrians walking or riding bicycles.

Humans have this unique ability to glance at pedestrians and make, immediate, effortless predictions about someone’s intent based on social cues, body language, etc.

– James Gowers

This is exactly what Perceptive Automata is developing for autonomous vehicles. Grayson asks James if this technology could be deployed into the security industry to spot potential bad actors through behavior.

James explains how this technology can be applied to the security industry and the potential applications. Not only can Perceptive Automata’s technology be applied for security applications, but it can also be used in the retail business to predict intent. Will the consumer purchase this product? Do they like the color of the product? The potential applications for predicting human intuition are endless.

Wrapping up the conversation, Grayson and James discuss the current state of the autonomous vehicle industry and what happens if and when Apple unveils an electric autonomous vehicle with an AR (Augmented Reality) app store.

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Recorded on Friday, February 12, 2021.