Autonomous Vehicle Insights

Autonomous Vehicles (Driverless Cars, Self-Driving Cars) will fundamentally transform mobility and usher in the next great leap in society.

Autonomous modes of transportation are used everyday in cities around the world everyday and with the introduction of autonomous vehicles usage will only grow. As the research around autonomous transportation has moved from the lab to the streets of the world, it’s impact has yet to be fully felt.

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

Morgan Stanley is projecting the shared mobility market to be worth $2.6 trillion by 2030.

To be prepared for this market opportunity, strategies have to be developed now.

To learn more about our autonomous vehicle strategy services, please visit our autonomous vehicle strategy section.

Our insights into autonomous vehicles from the labs to the startups to the traditional car manufacturers are listed below in the form of articles for your perusal.

Planning for the City of Tomorrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imagining a Louis Vuitton Autonomous Vehicle Service

Brands touch every aspect of our lives, and in the future globally-recognized brands such as Louis Vuitton could launch autonomous vehicle services

As Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, explores synergies across the group’s 70 brands, a Louis Vuitton branded autonomous vehicle service could act as the next catalyst of growth for the brand.

With recorded revenue of €37.6 billion and organic revenue growth of 6% in 2016, LVMH is well positioned to invest in and launch an autonomous vehicle service under the Louis Vuitton brand.

With a rich history of creating trunks tailor-made for travelers dating back to 1859, Louis Vuitton can once again innovate and introduce a product for the traveling life — autonomous vehicles. Instead of selling a physical product such as a trunk, Louis Vuitton would instead sell an autonomous vehicle subscription in select cities around the world.

Each and every vehicle would be a unique, luxurious experience tailored for the most discerning clientele. Leveraging synergies across the LVMH group, Krug Grande Cuvée champagne could be pre-stocked in the autonomous vehicle for a couple who are attending the theatre at Palais Garnier. Upon the vehicle’s arrival at the couple’s residence, the champagne would be properly chilled and ready to be served en route.

This memorable experience could be replicated across the 29 cities for which Louis Vuttion has published a City Guide. During the months of October through August, LVMH could offer the Louis Vuitton autonomous vehicle service on the island of St-Barth in conjunction with the Cheval Blanc resort.

The luxurious autonomous vehicles on St-Barth would be designed for the warm Caribbean weather complete with their own bespoke offerings exclusive to Cheval Blanc.

Every OEM and ride-sharing company currently working on developing autonomous vehicles and technology is thinking about scale and mass-market. However, Louis Vuitton would be solely focused on a niche market which is accustomed to paying a premium price for high end products and services.

Leveraging their controlled niche market, LVMH would be able to scale the Louis Vuitton autonomous vehicle without devaluing the brand. Case in point: Uber is currently suffering from brand devaluation as they do not offer a consistent service. Every ride in an Uber is different, while every ride in an LV autonomous vehicle would be luxurious and consistent.

Building on over 100 years of brand management, Louis Vuitton has guidelines and policies in place to ensure consistency. By focusing on 29 world-class cities and Cheval Blanc hotels, LVMH would ensure that the overall integrity of the brand is not devalued.

Should the Louis Vuitton autonomous vehicle service be successful, LVMH could expand the service and deeply integrate it into the group’s holdings by offering the service at events around the world such as Baselworld, Cannes Film Festival and The Louis Vuitton Cup.

Integrating the service with exclusive Louis Vuitton sponsored events would reinforce the intrinsic value of the brand. The future is bright for the Louis Vuitton brand. Now it is time for the brand to take the next logical step and introduce an on-demand autonomous vehicle service complete with matching luggage in 29 cities around the world.

Imagining a Louis Vuitton Autonomous Vehicle Service is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on Autonomous Tomorrow.

The Importance of Autonomous Vehicle Demo Days

The biggest hurdle currently facing the autonomous vehicle industry is fear

Both the fear of the unknown from consumers and the fear of liability. In today’s litigious society, companies are reticent to take risks. When planning for the future of autonomous vehicles, AV manufacturers must take into account the public’s fear of the unknown, while mitigating risk.

The fear of autonomous vehicles is very real due to the fact that a majority of the public has never seen an autonomous vehicle, let alone gone for a ride in one. Yet, a majority of the public has ridden in airport tram — which is driverless — without even batting an eye when boarding those driverless vehicles. We tend to fear what we do not know and do not fully comprehend.

In order to overcome these fears and uncertainties, autonomous vehicle manufacturers should partner with cities around the word to host autonomous vehicle demo days to introduce AVs directly to the public, allowing them to explore AV technology.

A 2016 University of Iowa Technology Demonstration Study points out that 80% of individuals prefer to learn about advanced driver technologies through a method that includes a demonstration. This creates an opportunity for autonomous vehicle manufacturers to partner with cities to host demonstrations.

At the autonomous vehicle demo days, the public should be encouraged to go for rides and ask any and all questions they may have about autonomy and the future of mobility. Autonomous vehicles are a new form of mobility which will make us safer, while greatly improving mobility for seniors and the disabled.

Seniors and the disabled will once again have their freedom back. However, there is a mounting concern that these groups will be unwilling to embrace the new technology. “Whether the growing population of older adults will fully realize the benefits remains a question subject to many moving parts” according to Paul Irving, Chairman of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging.

Mr. Irving is correct. This is why it is crucial to engage the public by inviting them to demo the technology and ask questions.

Furthermore, cities have to actively prepare for a future with autonomous vehicles. When planning for the city of the future, cities have to take small steps now to achieve big goals later.

In Beverly Hills, we are actively engaged with autonomous vehicle startups and traditional car manufacturers on a daily basis. One of the City’s goals is to shut down Rodeo Drive and host an autonomous vehicle demo day, where the public can take part in experiencing the technology and envision a world where autonomous vehicles are the the most common form of transportation.

The public’s experience at the autonomous vehicle demo day will start to alleviate the fear of the unknown. While autonomous vehicle startups have been very open to the idea of demo days, traditional car manufacturers have not been so receptive.

This comes as a disappointment as traditional car manufacturers could use the opportunity to educate the public about the safety benefits of not only autonomous vehicles, but also advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), which are currently available today.

According to Alex Epstein, Senior Director of Digital Strategy & Content at the National Safety Council, “The public does not have much of an awareness or understanding about what is really happening in vehicle automation, particularly safety automation.

There is confusion about some of the great technology that is available in production vehicles right now. For instance, does a particular vehicle have an ADAS feature such as Automatic Emergency Braking that might fully stop a vehicle on its own, or just slow it down to mitigate impact?”

An autonomous vehicle demo day would offer traditional car manufacturers the opportunity to showcase their advanced driver assistance systems while educating and preparing the public for the future.

“Getting a traditional car manufacturer to jump is the million dollar question” according to Jeffrey Spencer, Executive Director of the Sacramento Transportation Authority. Alex Epstein expands, “Right now, the downside is much bigger than the upside for traditional car manufacturers. The fully automated vehicles traditional car manufacturers might show are prototypes. Concept cars out for testing and refinement. Once the automated vehicles are brought to market, the manufacturers will be out showcasing them every chance they get.”

However, the fact that you cannot currently buy an autonomous vehicle or subscribe to an autonomous vehicle service should not stop traditional car manufacturers from preparing for the future and openly engaging with cities and the public. The upside is, in fact, bigger.

Only a handful of traditional car manufacturers will make the leap to becoming a mobility company. To make this leap, the public first and foremost has to like and trust the brand.

Today, the only truly trusted autonomous vehicle brand is Waymo. Why? Waymo is an Alphabet (Google) company and their AVs are the most commonly associated vehicles with autonomy. Plus, Google is the 5th most reputable company in the world (2017) according to the Reputation Institute.

BMW is not far behind as the 12th most reputable company in the world (2017), but ask the general public if they have heard of a self-driving BMW or if they have seen one and the answer will be most likely no. Ask the public if they have heard of an self-driving Google car or if they have seen one, the answer most likely will be yes.

Ask the public who they trust with their safety in an autonomous vehicle, and the answer most likely will be Google. The public uses Google every single day and has grown to like and trust the brand. To get to the point in society where every autonomous vehicle brand is trusted by consumers, we have to eliminate the fear of the unknown.

Through outreach and education, individuals will start to overcome their fear of autonomous vehicles. The time to act is now, it’s time for every single autonomous vehicle manufacturer to partner with cities around the world to host autonomous vehicle demo days.

By overcoming the fear of the unknown (autonomous vehicles), we will usher in the great mobility revolution to the benefit of everyone.

The Importance of Autonomous Vehicle Demo Days is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on Autonomous Tomorrow.

Amazon Smart-Home Consultations: Gearing Up For An Autonomous Vehicle Service

Building Trust, To Sell More Products and Autonomous Services

With the introduction of Amazon’s complementary Smart Home Consultation service, Amazon is gearing up to launch an autonomous vehicle service.

Amazon started laying the groundwork for an autonomous vehicle service in August 2016 through a partnership with Hyundai. Individuals were able to order a test drive of a 2017 Hyundai Elantra in Los Angeles under the banner of “Prime Now. Drive Now”.

While the program was a pilot program, Amazon was able to gather data and insight into how how consumers would order vehicles and use the service. Similar to the Smart Home Consultation service, trained experts were available to answer questions.

With Amazon’s complementary Smart Home Consultation, experts come to your home for a personalized experience that typically lasts on average 45 minutes. The experts start by learning more about the things you care about most, which gives Amazon another opportunity to gather data about autonomous vehicles and discuss the topic.

The service is currently available in Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA, San Diego, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Orange County, CA and San Jose, CA. All of these cities have autonomous vehicles in common – testing and research about the future of autonomous mobility is happening in each of these cities/geographical areas.

In Beverly Hills, an independent city geographically located in the center of Los Angeles, we are actively looking into how we can plan for a future with autonomous vehicles. Two of the biggest hurdles that we have identified are trust and education. How do you educate someone about future mobility, particularly autonomous vehicles, without trust?

Trust and education will play a vital role in the adoption and implementation of fully autonomous vehicles. We have seen companies working on autonomous vehicles take steps towards building trust by releasing dash-cam videos showing the vehicles driving around public roads in urban environments. While the videos may squash some fears, they end up only furthering the need for public autonomous vehicle demo days in cities around the world.

Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” was a self-professed skeptic of autonomous vehicles until he went for a ride in a Waymo vehicle. After the ride in the semi-autonomous vehicle, Cramer’s entire opinion about autonomous vehicles changed. During the ride, Carmer began to trust the technology more than he trusted a driver.

Summing up his first-ever autonomous vehicle experience, Carmer said; “I thought they were a pipedream, something that wouldn’t be viable until the distant future. Turns out I was wrong, and the future is now.”

He is correct, the future is now and Amazon decidedly knows this as well. Amazon further knows that trust and education are the keys to the adoption and implementation of fully autonomous vehicles. This exact scenario played out with Carmer. Once he learned about the technology first hand and went for a ride, he experienced the future.

While the experience Carmer had at Waymo’s headquarters is not scaleable, Amazon has solved the scale hurdle by introducing the Smart Home Consultation service. The service will allow Amazon to develop trust and educate the consumer about autonomous vehicles.

Amazon is already a trusted brand that virtually everyone universally adores. This affords the company a unique strategic advantage over every single brand in the autonomous vehicle marketplace, except possibly Alphabet’s Waymo.

As quality time is spent in the home, Amazon employees will be able to educate the consumer about autonomous vehicles while speaking about the benefits of autonomous vehicles and strengthening the trust factor.

To further this trust, an employee could even summon an autonomous vehicle using their voice from an Echo. Taking that individual(s) for a ride around the neighborhood and/or to an Amazon GO store. Once the individual sits in the vehicle, trust has already been firmly established.

As the vehicle pulls away and drives itself down the road, the passenger(s) are experiencing the future firsthand while Amazon gains another avenue to sell more products and services.

An autonomous vehicle subscription service is coming from Amazon, it’s just a matter of when.

Amazon Smart-Home Consultations: Gearing Up For An Autonomous Vehicle Service is an article written by Grayson Brulte, Brulte & Company Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the City of Beverly Hills Autonomous Vehicle Task Force.