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.

He formerly served as the Co-Chair of the City of Beverly Hills Mayor's Autonomous Vehicle Task Force and was 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, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The International Business Times, The Telegraph, Bloomberg, Forbes and The Hollywood Reporter.

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

Brands as an Autonomous Vehicle Service

In the future we will subscribe to an autonomous vehicle brand as a service as opposed to owning and garaging an autonomous vehicle.

In the future we will subscribe to a vehicle brand and summon autonomous vehicles on-demand from our smartphones which will arrive in 2 to 3 minutes.

2 to 3 minutes is the “magic pickup time” according to Marc Andreessen. If autonomous vehicles cannot arrive in this time frame, there will be a dramatic drop-off in demand and usage. This drop-off in demand would cause the entire program to be underutilized therefore resulting in a negative domino effect that would impact the entire service.

Wisely recognizing the negative domino effect and industry research, which is projecting that up to 1 out of 10 cars sold in 2030 will be a shared vehicle, traditional car manufacturers are transforming into mobility companies. The goal of the traditional car manufacturers is to model the behavior of how vehicles with drivers are used as a mobility service in a variety of circumstances.

Circumstances such as which are the most common routes in a city? What types of vehicles are used for the service and on which days? What happens when it rains or the sun is out? Are different vehicles used? In January in Southern California is there an uptick in SUV usage when ski season is in full effect in the mountains? Or is it the opposite?

These are just a few of the questions that traditional car manufacturers will have to fully understand in order to properly develop and launch an on-demand autonomous vehicle brand as a service.

To achieve this goal traditional car manufacturers are making strategic investments in transportation network companies to co-develop the future of transportation. In January, General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft while Volkswagen invested $300 million in Gett.

Furthering their bet on autonomous mobility, General Motors purchased Cruise Automation for over a $1 billion in March with the deal closing in May. While General Motors has been aggressively leveraging their balance sheet and deep knowledge of cars to become a leader in autonomous mobility, others have been taking note.

Apple recently invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing. The investment by Apple is two-fold. One, it’s a clear signal that Tim Cook and company are doubling down on China. Two, Apple is indeed working on an autonomous car that could be manufactured and initially launched in China.

Angelo Zino, an equity analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence summed up the investment as, “We think the investment makes sense as it should help improve Apple’s relationship with the Chinese government amid regulatory concerns.”

Mr. Zino is correct and further states, “We view the connected car space as a major growth opportunity for Apple and this investment could help the company with those initiatives.”

While Mr. Zino highlights the connected car, in my view that is just the tip of the iceberg as Apple currently has $181 billion of cash and investments (April 2016) in reserve overseas. The overseas cash reserve could tapped to fund the development and deployment of an autonomous vehicle service in China.

Furthermore, over 200,000 people die a year as a result of road accidents in China according to the World Health Organization. This number is more than four times the death toll from such accidents published by the Chinese government.

By removing the driver from the car, roads in China will become safer and the rate of fatalities from road accidents will fall as on-demand autonomous vehicles become prevalent on the roads of China.

This makes the investment in Didi Chuxing a shrewd political move. Apple could be viewed in some corners as helping to reduce the number of fatalities from road accidents with the introduction of an on-demand autonomous vehicle brand as a service powered by Didi Chuxing.

While Apple is making strategic investments in China to further their business interests and General Motors purchased an autonomous vehicle startup, other companies are taking a more holistic approach to the future of autonomous vehicles.

Volkswagen through their investment in Gett is working on developing a Porsche chauffeur service in the world’s largest cities. The premise for the Porsche chauffeur service is to model the behavior of how subscribers use the service and gather data on routes through deep learning. When Porsche feels comfortable with the logistics and autonomous hardware, the chauffeurs will be removed and the Porsche chauffeur service will become autonomous.

Klaus Froehlich, BMW AG’s head of development recently told Bloomberg in an interview, “the company that manages to offer driverless ride sharing cheaply and first will dominate this market. It’s a business proposition worth billions in profits that will cost billions to develop.”

Research released by McKinsey & Company in January 2016 projects that shared mobility, connectivity services, feature upgrades and new business models could expand automotive revenue pools by 30% adding up to $1.5 trillion in new revenue for companies.

On-demand autonomous vehicles will reshape global transportation forever and create fortunes for forward-thinking entrepreneurs and billions in new revenue for businesses.

Brands as an Autonomous Vehicle Service is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte.

How Renewables Are Driving Energy Evolution

The renewables revolution is forcing the energy industry to evolve. Change brings opportunity, and bold players stand to make significant revenue gains by wading into this new world.

Our reliance on conventional forms of energy is rapidly evolving as countries and companies that have traditionally relied on a single source for revenue are diversifying into new types. Firmly rooted industry players expand their businesses into renewable energy while newcomers are also getting into the game. The changing landscape is clear: The market is evolving to meet end-consumers’ demand.

This shift is good for the established players who have the resources to create the marketplace and define the product offering. And it’s also beneficial for the new arrivals, which can innovate great technology and possibly get acquired by the conventional companies that have defined the market.

Increasing demand is generating great opportunities for bold actors to launch and incubate energy startups inside of their companies. These internal startups will benefit from the parent company’s balance sheet and brand recognition.

GE and Lockheed Martin are cases in point. They’re both leveraging their brand to get into the space with energy startups inside of their corporate structure. GE recently launched Current, which combines data from industrial applications with the Predix industrial internet analytics platform to optimize energy consumption.

Lockheed Martin is following a similar path to GE by combining their energy products and technologies into a single commercial line called Lockheed Martin Energy. The company’s effort will focus on clean, renewable energy sources that will help it meet the Department of Defense’s request for the addition of 3 gigawatts of renewable energy.

While these two major corporations are leading the transformation of the energy industry from a commercial perspective, the relationship with the end-user is also evolving.

Here are three ways how the end-user’s relationship with energy is changing:

1. Smart Grids

As society moves to an always-connected, always-on society, the smart grid will play a critical role in the adoption of energy innovations. Being connected to automated two-way secure network infrastructures, smart grids will save energy, reduce costs and increase the reliability of always-on electricity.

Automated network infrastructures can act as routers and derive energy from multiple renewable sources like solar, ocean and wind depending on the location and climate.

And when commercial or residential end-users are generating more power than they are using, they can sell the excess back to the grid or store it in a battery pack like Nissan’s xStorage system.

2. Renewable Energy

In 2015, 13 percent of electricity in the United States was generated from renewable energy sources. The Energy Information Administration expects total renewables used in the electric power sector to increase by 11.3 percent in 2016 and by 4.4 percent in 2017.

Renewables’ growth demonstrates a bullish sign for the electric-vehicle industry, which will account for 35 percent of global new car sales by 2040. The growth of electric car sales combined with the overall growth of renewable energy is a clear indicator that end-users’ energy consumption habits are changing.

3. Energy Storage

With the development of the smart grid and increasing reliance on renewable sources, energy storage will become a growth market for companies who develop battery technology. End-users will no longer have to rely on natural-gas backup generators to avoid power outages. Instead, they can now install a Tesla Powerpack or other similar storage products, which are infinitely scalable for large enterprise solutions, and connect them to alternative sources like solar panels.

With our energy consumption patterns changing and end-users diversifying into new sources of energy, the opportunities for growth in the energy industry are becoming truly endless.

How Renewables Are Driving Energy Evolution is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on GE Reports.

The Future of The Trucking Industry

The future of the trucking industry is a future where trucks operate autonomously with no drivers in the cabin and autonomous truck logistics officers operate, optimize and manage the fleets.

Fully autonomous truck platoons that do not rely on driver intervention to change lanes or join a platoon will revolutionize the trucking industry while improving safety and optimizing the efficiency of the fleet.

Autonomous truck platoons will reduce accidents caused by human error, improve efficiencies on the roadways, lower the costs related to transporting goods and create a new job category — Autonomous Truck Logistics Officers.

Today the largest cost related to transporting goods is labor. The cost of labor accounts for one-third of the total operating costs for each truck in a fleet. As autonomous truck technology advances towards Level 4 autonomy, labor costs will decrease as the role of the truck driver will evolve into an Autonomous Truck Logistics Officer.

An Autonomous Truck Logistics Officer will be an individual with a unique skill set who can remotely manage and optimize a fleet of autonomous trucks in select regions in real-time. The new job of an Autonomous Truck Logistics Officer will assist truck operators in optimizing the business of logistics — the delivery of goods to warehouses.

While the Autonomous Truck Logistics Officer focuses on logistics, the autonomous truck is focused solely driving and safety. An autonomous truck has a reaction time of just one tenth of a second, compared to a driver with a reaction time of 1.4 seconds. This lightning fast reaction time allows for trucks to platoon as close as 50 feet compared to the recommended 150 feet with a driver.

When the trucks are platooned together there is an increased fuel efficiency which can be as efficient as 10% and increase of 50% space on the roadway which will lead to increased efficiency in terms of time spent traveling on a roadway.

In 2014, trucks (single-unit 2-axle 6-tire or more) traveled 109,301,000,000 miles in the U.S. with the average age of a truck being 11.4 years old.

As trucks that are in use today age and technology advances, the trucking industry can start to prepare for the great migration to autonomous trucks which will take place between 2020 and 2025.

The great migration will happen between 2020 and 2025 as the technology will have advanced far enough to the point where having a human driver behind the wheel is no longer the safest option.

Regulations on both State and Federal levels will have caught up to the technology and Level 4 autonomous trucks will be operating on public roadways.

While we are still a few years away from 2020, companies that own and operate large fleets of trucks can start the transition to semi-autonomous trucks with Daimler’s Freightliner which is approved to operate on public roadways or by waiting for OTTO to begin selling their unique self-driving kit for trucks.

The Future of The Trucking Industry is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte.

These 3 Industries Are Getting Transformed By Advanced Manufacturing

From electric vehicles on the ground to rockets in space, a range of industries are already benefitting from advanced manufacturing — innovative technologies and processes that are set to transform nearly every sector.

Imagine a world of full of machines manufacturing anything we desire on-demand, where robots attend to workers’ every need. Welcome to the future of advanced manufacturing — a hybrid of technologies and processes that manufactures goods through the use of innovative technologies.

Today, advanced manufacturing accounts for 13 percent of jobs in the U.S. and contributes $3.1 trillion to the economy. As machines become smarter through adaptive sensor networks connected to the Industrial Internet, efficiencies will be created and the economic impact will only grow. Advanced manufacturing techniques combined with big data analytics will allow companies to make intelligent decisions based on real-time data. This actionable data will lead to faster turnaround times for manufacturing and lower costs.

Here are three industries that are among the biggest beneficiaries of advanced manufacturing:

1. Electric Vehicles

As society changes, consumer habits change. Last year, we saw an unprecedented demand for electric cars, as electric vehicle sales grew by 60 percent worldwide according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. As the race for the sub-$30,000 electric car heats up, Tesla is using advanced manufacturing robots at its Fremont plant to keep up with demand.

Tesla’s robots are relieving workers of the most labor-intensive operations in the factory and cutting installation times in half. By freeing up workers to focus on the most crucial aspects of assembling a vehicle, Tesla is creating a smarter, leaner workforce.

By 2040, 35 percent of all new cars sold worldwide are expected have a plug and long-range electric cars will start at less than $22,000. To keep up with the projected demand, electric vehicle manufacturers will have to openly embrace the marriage of software and hardware that is advanced manufacturing.

2. Robotics

Robots might not yet be part of everyone’s daily lives, but soon they will be part of the everyday workforce. Sales of industrial robots sold grew by 8 percent worldwide last year, according to the International Federation of Robotics, surpassing 240,000 units sold for the first time.

As industrial robot sales grow, The Boston Consulting Group predicts that a “robotic revolution” is poised to transform many industries — replacing manual labor with machines on a wide scale.

In the oil & gas industry, Sky Futures is using unmanned drones to transform how oil rigs both offshore and onshore are inspected. By using unmanned drones instead of manual labor, oil & gas companies will be able to improve the productivity and efficiency of the workforce.

The same is true for automating mundane tasks such as loading and unloading materials from trucks, empowering the workforce to become more productive.

For example, the OTTO is a self-driving vehicle that can transport goods and services throughout an industrial environment. By combining robotics such as the OTTO with a workforce that has advanced manufacturing skills, industrial companies can garner the benefits of improved efficiency.

3. Aerospace

The global aerospace and defense sector is poised to resume growth following several years of declines, according to Deloitte.

With the return of growth to the sector, aerospace companies will be more open to experimenting with emerging technologies such as nanotechnology.

Boeing used nanotechnology when the company developed the 787 Dreamliner to reduce the overall weight of the aircraft, resulting in longer possible flight times and decreased operating costs.

NASA is researching nanotechnology at NASA Ames Research Center, exploring the technology’s potential to “revolutionize many aspects of space exploration.”

Nanotechnology combined with advanced manufacturing would dramatically improve the process of designing, creating and operating an aircraft through improved efficiencies.

The above are just a few examples of industries that are already benefitting from advanced manufacturing. But nearly every industry around the world can benefit from advanced technologies and systems, which have the potential to make the global workforce smarter and more efficient.

These 3 Industries Are Getting Transformed By Advanced Manufacturing is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on GE Reports.

(Top image: Courtesy of Rethink Robotics)

Apple Car and The Growth of the Services Business

An Autonomous Apple car combined with exclusive content and experiences will create Apple’s next great revenue growth opportunity: services.

As we move towards a future where autonomous vehicles will eventually replace cars with full-time drivers, the automotive, technology and entertainment worlds will soon merge to create the future of in-car entertainment.

When these worlds merge into a closed ecosystem, Apple will be one of the big winners as they will control the hardware, software and content. At this year’s Sundance Film Festival Apple quietly hosted private invitation-only events to meet with talent.

As Apple makes the rounds in Hollywood with a focus on developing original content for their yet to be announced OTT service they are quietly developing the future of content distribution right under our nose.

In a recent research report from the investment bank Morgan Stanley the firm stated: “The car is effectively the 4th screen for media content consumption after PCs, phones and TVs. In our view, this is what Silicon Valley will be targeting by leveraging the autonomous utility.”

In my view, Morgan Stanley is correct in their assumption and I believe that this is one of the next great revenue growth opportunities for Apple. In Apple’s 2015 annual report the company reported $19.9 billion in revenue from services (includes revenue from the iTunes Store®, App Store, Mac App Store, iBooks Store™ and Apple Music™ (collectively “Internet Services”), AppleCare, Apple Pay®, licensing and other services) which was a 10% increase in revenue from 2014 when services generated $18.1 billion in revenue.

When Apple officially introduces their electric autonomous car and a complementary section of the App Store solely designated for their in-autonomous car experience, service revenue will continue to grow year-over-year. In the Apple car section of the App Store Apple will be able to showcase and sell bespoke in-autonomous car experiences that were created exclusively for the Apple car.

Today Americans spend 75 billion hours a year driving which costs $507 billion annually in lost productivity according to Ravi Shanker, lead analyst covering the North American auto and related industries at Morgan Stanley.

With this lost productivity due to driving autonomous vehicles will create new opportunities for companies to introduce new services.

Instead of concentrating on the road and the surroundings, the former driver and passengers in an autonomous Apple car would be able to catch up on work or watch an exclusive Apple movie or TV show on the car’s screens while the car travels down the road.

To make this a reality Apple will need a secure private testing facility where they can test autonomous cars and new technology in secret.

With the introduction of the CA A.B. 1592 bill by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla (D CA-14) on January 6, 2016, Apple looks to have a deal in place to test their autonomous cars in secret at GoMentum Station in Concord, CA.

According to The Guardian Apple has had talks with GoMentum Station as early as 2015. Apple engineer Frank Fearon wrote in an email obtained by The Guardian: “We would … like to get an understanding of timing and availability for the space, and how we would need to coordinate around other parties who would be using [it].”

Assemblymember Bonilla who represents the district that GoMentum Station is located in, introduced CA A.B. 1592 as spot legislation earlier this year which coincidentally is almost a year after Apple first inquired about testing autonomous vehicles.

The CA A.B. 1592 “Autonomous Vehicles: Pilot Project” states:

Notwithstanding Section 38750, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority is authorized to conduct a pilot project for the testing of autonomous vehicles that do not have an operator and are not equipped with a steering wheel, a brake pedal, or an accelerator provided the following requirements are met:

(a) The testing shall be conducted only at a privately owned business park designated by the authority, inclusive of public roads within the designated business park, and at GoMentum Station located within the boundaries of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station.

(b) The autonomous vehicle shall operate at speeds of less than 35 miles per hour.

(c) A change in ownership of the property comprising the GoMentum Station shall not affect the authorization to conduct testing pursuant to this section.

The bill will allow for the testing of Level 4 autonomy. Level 4 autonomy is a fully-autonomous vehicle that does not have any option for human driving—no steering wheel or controls. Could Apple be following the lead of the Google with their self-driving car project by developing a fully autonomous car?

Furthermore, section C of the legislation would allow for a change of ownership without affecting bill. Could Apple be in negotiations to buy GoMentum Station to further their interest in autonomous vehicles?

In May 2015, Apple senior vice-president Jeff Williams called the car “the ultimate mobile device” and said that Apple was “exploring a lot of different markets … [in which] we think we can make a huge amount of difference”.

Could Mr. Williams be forecasting the future of Apple? While we are uncertain at this time, I am certain that autonomous vehicles will create a plethora of opportunities for forward-thinking individuals and companies.

Only time will tell whether or not Apple ultimately decides to produce a fully autonomous car complete with bespoke in-car entertainment experiences exclusive to Apple.

Without having to concentrate on the road at all times we will be able to enjoy a variety of exclusive content and experiences.

An autonomous Apple car combined with exclusive content and experiences will create Apple’s next great revenue growth opportunity: services.

Apple Car and The Growth of the Services Business is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte.