Why U.S. must outpace China, Other Nations

Autonomous vehicles will usher in the single greatest change in society since the Industrial Revolution.

For this change to happen, Congress will need to deliver to President Trump a national autonomous vehicle framework bill that includes vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds.

Upon signature by President Trump, the autonomy economy will officially be launched to the benefit of society, creating millions of new jobs through sustained economic growth. The economic impact of autonomous vehicles and the autonomy ecosystem is projected to grow to $7 trillion by 2050.

The economic growth of the autonomy economy will create millions of new jobs and save the United States $871 billion in annual economic loss and societal harm caused by motor-vehicle accidents.

Today, the roads of America are dangerous. In 2015, an estimated 433,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported accidents, resulting in 4,067 fatalities, a 4 percent increase from 2014. Some 74 percent of these fatalities were occupants of other vehicles traveling on the road. In 2016, over 40,000 individuals perished in a motor-vehicle accident. Ninety-four percent of these accidents were caused by human error.

Over the next 20 years, the number of individuals dying on the roadways of America will dramatically decrease if there is an autonomous vehicle framework in place that permits Level 5 autonomous vehicles to travel over state lines.

When an autonomous vehicle framework is in place, the roads of America will become safer and society will welcome the autonomy economy. The autonomy economy is an evolution based upon B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore’s experience economy theory, which states that businesses will develop memorable experiences for their customers and the memory of those experiences will become the product.

While the term the “experience economy” was first introduced in 1998, the shift to an experience-based economy has happened over the last several years. B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore were ahead of their time in correctly predicting the evolution of the economy towards a service-based economy.

When Gov. Rick Scott of Florida signed one of the first autonomous vehicles laws in 2012 — HB 1207, allowing testing in the state — he successfully established the foundation for the autonomy economy. Investments being made by the private sector in autonomous cargo shipping, autonomous vehicles and autonomous drones, and the space industry are creating hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs with a net positive impact on the Florida economy.

The foundation Gov. Scott has established in Florida is one that the United States can build and expand upon. With investments being made in Silicon Valley, Southern California; Arizona; Detroit, Michigan; Florida; and Nevada; and with foreign investments being made by Softbank and Foxconn, the groundwork for the autonomy economy is actively being developed in the United States.

To unleash the full potential of the autonomy economy, we have to believe in the American dream by not prejudging the technology and its supposed negative impact on jobs. Instead, we need to look back in history and study similar technological advancements.

The Industrial Revolution created tens of millions of more jobs than it replaced over the course of history, and the U.S. economy has grown and matured significantly since then. When new inventions were introduced, such as the electric-powered washing machine, there was an uproar over job loss. In fact, the washing machine went on to create more jobs than it replaced.

The fear of autonomous vehicles replacing jobs and not creating new jobs is a classic case of history repeating itself. For the introduction of new technologies, history is our greatest guide to predict the future.

While we do not yet know the full extent autonomy and autonomous vehicles will have on society, we do know that if the United States does not lead on autonomy, other countries will step up and autonomy jobs will ship overseas.

We are currently seeing this very scenario happening in Singapore as NuTonomy, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based autonomous vehicle start-up, is testing their technology overseas. If an autonomous vehicle national framework is not passed, we could see this same scenario occur in China, as U.S.-based technology companies have a desire to expand into China to tap into the growing population.

Capitalizing on this desire, China could strategically allow Level 5 autonomous vehicles to operate on every road in the country. If this happened, China could overtake the United States as the leader in the development and testing of autonomous vehicles.

The World Health Organization estimates 260,000 individuals perish on the roads of mainland China every single year. With over 700 individuals perishing on the roads of mainland China every day, that government has a clear motive to allow Level 5 autonomous vehicles.

U.S.-based companies could off-shore their autonomous vehicle testing and investments benefiting the Chinese economy — not the U.S. economy — if Congress does not act.

It would behoove Congress to act and pass an autonomous vehicle national framework for the benefit of society. An autonomous vehicle national framework will create millions of high-paying U.S. jobs, thus having a positive impact on the economy.

It is time for America to come together and collectively usher in the autonomy economy for the benefit of all Americans.

Why U.S. must outpace China, Other Nations is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published in The Washington Times.

Automating A to Z: Will Airbnb Integrate Autonomous Vehicles?

The $550 billion hotel industry is in flux and the big change has not even occurred yet. While traditional hoteliers fret over Airbnb and their $30 billion valuation, they are once again missing the big picture – autonomous vehicles.

While chain hotels were busy focusing on consistency, Airbnb was busy focusing on authenticity and learning about their customers. In the early days, Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO moved out of the apartment he shared with his co-founders to live exclusively on Airbnb. The co-founder of Airbnb believed in his product so much, he would live on the platform.

This level of dedication to the product is still evident today. If you visit Airbnb’s office, you will notice that the two dozen or so conference rooms are exact replicas of Airbnb listings around the world. How many traditional hotel companies have modeled their conference rooms as exact replicas of rooms around the world?

In keeping with this attention to detail, Airbnb moved into the experiences market in late 2016. Now in mid-2017, the hotel industry is once again playing catch up to Airbnb and the entire home-sharing revolution. As the hotel industry introduces experiences, Airbnb is busy working remaking the entire travel industry.

While Airbnb is currently working on creating new kinds of travel offerings in their innovation and design lab, called Samara, the hotel industry is busy focusing on RevPAR (Revenue per available room) and not the future.

Airbnb has publicly stated that the company is looking into flight bookings as a new service. The next logical step after flight bookings is autonomous vehicles.

If Airbnb does indeed explore autonomous vehicles and launch a service, the service should be fully integrated into the overall guest experience. The vehicles should be branded Airbnb and purpose-built for the experience while blending into their surroundings as not to look like a tourist bus. Allowing travelers to blend in and experience a new destination as a local.

These vehicles could feature AR (augmented reality) surfaces and displays which allow a city to come to live as an individual drive through it. This is the future of travel. A highly personalized experience tailored to each and every individual who ventures out the door.

Experiencing a new destination can be a daunting task especially if you do not speak the local language. Smartphones, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles and breakthroughs in artificial intelligence are bringing us closer together again.

“Cities used to be villages. Everyone knew each other, and everyone knew they had a place to call home”, Brian Chesky has stated.

Mr. Chesky is correct, a city was a place you could call home and you could depend on your neighbor to help out in times of need. While this idealistic world is no longer here, the dream is not far away.

It’s a dream that Airbnb fully realizes and understands the potential of. It’s a dream that is changing the lives of millions of individuals around the world as they are able to generate income from renting out a room while providing hospitality.

To some, this is their version of the village. To others, this is merely a pipedream. But to the hotel industry, this should be a reality. It’s only a matter of time before Airbnb surpasses Marriott in market value as the hotel industry keeps playing catch up instead of innovating.

Which is a change of course for the hotel industry, as the industry used to innovate and embrace new technologies. In 1904, when Colonel John Jacob Astor opened the St. Regis Hotel in New York City every room had its own telephone along with central heating and an air-cooling system that allowed each and every guest to control the temperature in their room.

The hotel also featured one of the first central vacuum systems and a central fire alarm system which would improve the safety of the guests. These technological advancements cemented the St. Regis’ brand as a leader in innovation and hospitality.

Today, St. Regis (Owned by Marriott) is no longer innovating like it used to, while Airbnb constantly continues to innovate and introduce new services. Airbnb has the potential to completely out innovate the hotel industry and transform our cities through local experiences and autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles will bring us closer together as we will travel longer distances to experience new situations, customs, and cultures. No longer we will have to worry about how long a drive is or if we are too tired to drive or what do we do when we get there.

Instead, we can focus on the journey ahead of us and not behind us. Experiencing something new is intellectually stimulating and it can change our way of thinking. Experiencing a new city for the first time is joyful and something that magical. It’s these experiences that partially shape who we are and set in course the motion of who will become.

Autonomous vehicles will allow us as a society to experience more of these journeys. These journeys will transform our cities and perhaps we will once again experience a city as a village.

Automating A to Z: Will Airbnb Integrate Autonomous Vehicles is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on LA CoMotion.

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.