Autonomous Vehicles (Self-Driving Cars) will fundamentally transform society.

Our insights into autonomous vehicles are listed below in the form of articles for your perusal.

DeepMap – HD Mapping for Autonomous Vehicles

In this episode of The Road To Autonomy, Grayson Brulte discusses the critical role that HD mapping will play in the future of autonomous driving with DeepMap executives.

In the future, high-definition maps will help autonomous vehicles will see the world the same way a human driver currently sees the world today.

HD mapping is one of the critical elements to enabling full autonomy with no safety driver sitting in the driver’s seat. Tune in to learn about the futuristic benefits of HD maps and how autonomous vehicles equipped with HD mapping will make the roads of the world safer.

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Why America Needs a National Autonomous Vehicle Policy

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

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

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

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

Electrification’s mixed promise

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

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

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

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

Cites as laboratories

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unleashing the “autonomy economy”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Autonomous Delivery of Health Care

In this episode of The Road To Autonomy, Grayson Brulte discusses the future of autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and AVs overall positive impact on health care with Dr. Peter Weiss.

In the future, autonomous vehicles won’t just prevent deaths from human error. An autonomous vehicle will reroute you to a hospital if a driver has a heart attack or a stroke, greatly increasing the chances of saving your life and others on the road.

Statistically, the inside of a vehicle is one of the most dangerous places for a human to be. Thanks to AI and its ability to sense a driver’s vital signs, it may become one of the safest.

In 2015, more than 38,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents per the National Safety Council. Of these accidents, 26 percent led to deaths that were caused by distracted driving.

Every day in the United States 4,110 heart attacks and strokes occur, or roughly 1.5 million every year. Drivers in the United States on average make 1.1 billion trips per day. This means that for roughly every 733 trips taken, one driver could experience a heart attack or stroke while behind the wheel.

This presents a real risk for everyone who gets into a car. If a driver does have a heart attack or a stroke, the chances of them losing consciousness and endangering themselves, passengers, other drivers or pedestrians is very likely.

These risks will greatly be reduced, if not eliminated, through the introduction and widespread adoption of SAE Level 5 autonomous vehicles. Tune in to learn about the futuristic health benefits of autonomous vehicles and how they will make the roads of the world safer.

Watch every episode of The Road To Autonomy

From Internal Combustion Engines to On-Demand Electric Autonomous Vehicle Subscriptions

The days of the motor that powered the growth of the suburbs is coming to an end as the benefits of electric vehicles far outway those of the internal combustion engine.

UBS is predicting that by 2025, 14% of vehicle sales will be electric up from 1% today. While some would say that UBS is bullish on their call, others would argue that UBS is undervaluing the autonomy economy. Between 2025 and 2030 society will hit the tipping point with autonomous vehicles, as a majority of vehicles will no longer be sold to consumers.

Instead, consumers will subscribe to autonomous vehicle brands and summon vehicles on-demand. No longer will vehicles sit idle 95% of the time costing the owners/leases of the vehicle money. The average cost to own and operate a large sedan in the United States driven 15,000 miles a year costs consumers $9,451 a year, equaling $0.6300 a mile.

While the cost to own and operate an electric vehicle costs $8,439 a year equaling $0.5626 a mile. Even with traditionally higher costs, it is still more cost-effective to own and operate an electric vehicle than an internal combustion engine vehicle today.

As autonomy matures and manufacturers start to shift their business models to subscriptions from selling vehicles, the cost of transportation for individuals in a vehicle will plummet as a majority of vehicles will be shared.

While vehicles will be shared, there will not necessarily be multiple individuals in the vehicle at the same time. The concept of UberPool and Lyft Line is not the future of transportation. It’s an idea and a concept that appeals to a niche group, not the public as a whole.

Consumers like their independence and the convenience vehicles offer them for their lifestyles. Subscribing to a brand will allow individuals to summon the vehicle that fits their need for that time and place. For example, if a family of four is heading to the beach, they can summon an SUV. If mom and dad are going out for dinner, they can summon a sedan.

The vehicles consumers subscribe to will be electric and operate on a software platform that is fully integrated into the lifestyles of the brand’s customers. Brands such as Aston Martin have announced that every new vehicle by the middle of the next decade will be hybrid or electric.

A quarter of these vehicles will be 100% electric. As Andy Palmer, CEO of Aston Martin positions the iconic brand for the future, a subscription service will not be far behind as he is in the middle of a strategy to reposition the brand for the future.

In its 105-year history, Aston Martin has only sold roughly 70,000 cars. Which is a remarkable number considering the prestige of the brand. Over the course of history, Aston Martin has only sold 667 cars a year on average.

With the shift to electric and the advancements of autonomy, Dr. Palmer could strategically announce that one will no longer be able to buy an Aston Martin, instead, one will have to subscribe to the brand.

The starting price to purchase an Aston Martin today is $118,650. In the future, with a subscription, this price could possibly drop as low as $2,000 a month with no insurance, maintenance or charging costs as Aston Martin would self-insure and all ancillaries would be bundled into the monthly subscription.

Today, if a consumer were to buy an Aston Marton, the insurance would cost $232.06 a month on average. The annual oil change (10,000 miles) costs $1,400 in addition to tires, brakes, etc which will set consumers back a few thousand more a year. Factoring in gas and parking, the average yearly cost to own and operate an Aston Martin is well over $5,000.

High costs make the brand unattainable for most individuals. In the future, when you remove the cost of entry, the internal combustion engine and the monthly costs to operate, the Aston Martin brand becomes attainable to a larger percentage of the population.

When the brand becomes more attainable and multiple individuals are subscribing to vehicles, profits will increase which will allow Aston Martin to scale the brand. This scenario is only possible today due to the breakthroughs in electric and autonomous technologies.

As a society, we are just beginning to scratch the surface of the true benefits that an electric, autonomous future will offer us.

Whether you are interested in a luxury subscription or a traditional sedan, the end of the internal combustion engine will dramatically lower the cost of vehicles as society shifts towards a subscription model.

From Internal Combustion Engines to On-Demand Electric Autonomous Vehicle Subscriptions is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on LA CoMotion.