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.

An Autonomous Vehicle Could Save Your Life

Having a heart attack or a stroke in a car in the future does not mean near certain death as autonomous vehicles will soon be able to reroute you to a hospital.

In 2015, more than 38,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents according to the National Safety Council. 26% of these accidents lead to deaths that were caused by distracted driving. While the National Safety Council does not break out the number of motor vehicle deaths related to a medical condition, the risk is real.

4,110 heart attacks and strokes occur every single day in the United States, which equals roughly 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes per year. Drivers in the United States on average take 1.1 billion trips in their cars per day, which is four trips per day for every individual in the United States.

For roughly every 733 trips taken, a driver could experience a heart attack or stroke which would endanger their passengers and fellow drivers on the road as they could lose consciousness and control of the vehicle.

Today, this is one of the risks of driving on the road or being a passenger in a car. If a driver were to have a heart attack or a stroke, the chances of them losing consciousness and killing themselves, their passengers, pedestrians or an individual on a bike is very likely.

If the individuals do not parish in the accident and are injured, their necessitating emergency room visits, surgeries, rehabilitation and possible lifelong debilitating injuries could have a negative impact on their quality of life.

Tomorrow, these risks will be greatly reduced due to the introduction and widespread adoption of Level 4 autonomous vehicles. Not only will this risk be reduced, the chances of the passenger who has had a heart attack or stroke of surviving will greatly increase.

In the future autonomous vehicles will be able to sense behaviors such as the movement of passengers in the seats, body temperature or even noticing an increase in respiration.

If a passenger in an autonomous vehicle is feeling chest pain or numbness, they will be able to communicate with the autonomous vehicle through an intelligent voice system by simply saying a simple word or phrase such as “help”.

Through artificial intelligence and deep learning capabilities the autonomous vehicle would understand the problem partly due to the tone of the driver’s voice and could then send a message to the nearest hospital that the vehicle will be dropping off a passenger in distress.

The medical staff at the hospital would be able to track the location of the autonomous vehicle and communicate with the passenger if they are still conscious and coherent. If the passenger is coherent and communicative, they can even be instructed what to do as the autonomous vehicle drives them to the hospital.

Upon the vehicle’s arrival the hospital at a dedicated emergency autonomous vehicle drop-off and pickup zone, medical staff would be there waiting to take care of the passenger.

This is the future. A future with autonomous vehicles will save lives, improve mobility and lower the risk of dying while driving due to a medical emergency.

An Autonomous Vehicle Could Save Your Life is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the City of Beverly Hills Mayor’s Autonomous Vehicle Task Force Grayson Brulte and Dr. Peter D. Weiss, M.D. F.A.C.O.G, Co-Founder of Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Clinic and a former National Health Care Advisor to Senator John McCain’s Presidential Campaign in 2008 and Dr. Ben Carson’s Presidential Campaign in 2016.

Reputation Versus Expectations in the Autonomous Vehicle Industry

The severity of reputation crises is inversely proportional to the expectations stakeholders have about the organization or individual in crisis.

One of many reasons for close integration of crisis preparedness and operational planning is that as soon as you have made any significant operational decision, each impacted stakeholder – internal and external – is poised to have their expectations set. First by you, and thereafter by a growing number of mentions in traditional and social media and even mundane offline word-of-mouth. If something about your product or services fails to meet those expectations, dismay ensues – and the bigger the gap between expectations and reality, the greater the distress.

Ironically, this tenet regarding expectations disproportionately favors those whose reputations are not stellar to begin with.

Take the tobacco industry. Or Big Pharma. No one expects much from them as consumers other than the substances needed to feed tobacco addictions or the pills that can allegedly fix all our woes. No one is surprised or shocked when someone dies from cigarette smoke, even if a remarkably rare lawsuit is filed. Likewise, few are surprised when a medication is belatedly proved to be unsafe, even if they do get angry over it, because of the pre-existing poor reputation of the overall industry with regard to consumer safety.

On the other hand, let’s look at how the public reacted when Lance Armstrong turned out to be a cheat. Or when one of the world’s most reputable accounting firms turned its collective head when some of its partners were enabling the destruction of people’s futures in the infamous Enron case? Armstrong was disgraced and banned from his sport. Arthur Andersen went out of business – in the Court of Public Opinion, not in a Court of Law. In both cases, expectations had been very high – and the amount of anger associated with that type of reality gap invariably results in more protracted and viscerally angry reputation-damaging reaction.

History has provided the autonomous vehicle industry with a footprint of how not to react to a potential crisis. It is important that the industry as a whole understand the trials and tribulations other industries have faced during moments of uncertainty.

Let’s look at what happened when the Wright Brothers were pioneering the art of flying.

On Thursday, September 17, 1908 Orville Wright took Lieutenant Selfridge, a West Point graduate who was one of the army’s most knowledgeable aviation specialists for a flight. After a few minutes, the plane crashed and Lieutenant Selfridge perished in the crash and Orville Wright was seriously injured. Orville’s passenger that day was supposed to have been President Theodore Roosevelt.

This unfortunate accident did not slow down The Wright Brother’s determination. Instead, Wilbur Wright grabbed the bull by the horns and continued to test, build and modify planes.

While The Wright Brothers faced uncertainty after the crash, they did not let an unfortunate accident turn into a crisis that would derail all of their efforts and an entire budding industry. Instead the brothers went on to change history forever.

Hopefully the same thing will happen today. The big disadvantage innovators face today is social media and the spreading of false rumors that can derail a project and lead to a crisis. In 1908 it was never reported that President Theodore Roosevelt was supposed to be the passenger.

In 2016, this bit of news would have been leaked, causing a potential crisis to unfold. This is why it is very important for cutting edge innovators to have a crisis response plan in place, ready to be activated if a major incident is to unfold due to an accident of an autonomous vehicle.

Accidents will happen and innovators will have to be prepared to react not purely from emotion, but from a predefined plan to ensure the incident does not take on a life of it’s own.

Reputation Versus Expectations in the Autonomous Vehicle Industry is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the City of Beverly Hills Mayor’s Autonomous Vehicle Task Force Grayson Brulte and Jonathan Bernstein, President of Bernstein Crisis Management that was originally published on Bernstein Crisis Management.

Jonathan has more than 30 years of experience in all aspects of crisis management — vulnerability assessment, planning, training and response.

Autonomous Trucks, Trains And Ships Will Transform Commerce

Automation can improve the efficiency of the freight and transportation industries, which will be good news for a range of global businesses.

The advent of autonomous forms of transportation — vehicles that can sense and navigate their environment without human input — will usher in the greatest change in society since the Industrial Revolution. Autonomous vehicles will change every aspect of society, including the freight industry that’s already facing a metamorphosis.

Rising diesel prices and a slowing demand for some freight are among the sources of concern for a trucking industry today, according to the Wall Street Journal. But autonomous technologies can unlock significant efficiency and safety improvements in slowing industries like trucking and shipping — and industrial companies and service providers will once again reinvent themselves around these opportunities.

OTTO, a self-driving truck start-up based in San Francisco is working on a self-driving kit for commercial trucks that will allow drivers to sleep during long-haul trips, greatly improving safety and productivity.

Rolls-Royce recently announced an autonomous ship with no crew that will be remotely controlled through an augmented reality logistics command center.

“Autonomous shipping is the future of the maritime industry,” Mikael Makinen, president of Rolls-Royce Marine, said in a white paper about the technology. “As disruptive as the smartphone, the smart ship will revolutionize the landscape of ship design and operations.”

Today, labor accounts for a significant portion of total operating costs for each unit in a fleet. As autonomous technology evolves, industrial companies that rely on trucks or ships to move their goods could increase efficiency by removing the drivers from the trucks.

But what about those driving jobs? What will the role of humans look like in this scenario?

Rüdiger Grube, chairman and CEO of rail operator of Deutsche Bahn describes how “the role of the train driver and the train controller will increasingly merge in the future.” And as these roles merge, a new jobs category will emerge. New jobs will be created for individuals with unique skill sets who can remotely manage and optimize a fleet of autonomous ships, trains, trucks and vehicles in select regions in real-time.

Drivers and operators may be assisted by these new players — let’s call them “autonomous logistics officers” — who will manage the fleets from a remote command center in multiple shifts a day. When these roles merge, the quality of life of a truck driver will improve immensely. For companies that own and operate the fleet of autonomous trucks, they will see increase efficiencies and lower costs as the trucks will now be able to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The age of driverless freight, especially trains, in the U.S. may not be in the near term. In July, the Federal Railroad Administration conducted a public hearing about a rule it proposed that requires two-man crews.

But soon consumers will be able to subscribe to an autonomous vehicle brand and summon a car when needed. When this technology is first introduced, autonomous logistics officers will manage the fleet to ensure that there are a sufficient number of vehicles in select locations based on demand.

Over time, the role of an autonomous logistics officer will evolve as artificial intelligence combines with deep learning and neural networks. Then industrial companies like freight businesses will once again reinvent themselves.

Autonomous Trucks, Trains and Ships Will Transform Commerce is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on General Electric Reports.

Top image: Courtesy of Getty Images.

Autonomous Vehicle Guest Leasing Program — How the hotel industry can regain market share from Airbnb

One of the greatest beneficiaries of the autonomous vehicle will be the traditional hotel industry.

Hotel owners and operators that manage world class brands will be able to streamline their unique approach to customer service, increase food and beverage revenue, incidentals revenue and reduce parking costs and fleet operations overhead.

By openly embracing an autonomous vehicle strategy similar to the one described below, hotels will be able to offer a unique service that distinguishes their property from their competitors and the peer-to-peer lodging industry. With the rapid growth of peer-to-peer lodging industry lead by Airbnb, hotels have to adopt and improve their product in a non-traditional fashion.

By adopting the product to benefit from the future, hotel owners and operators have to first understand the following data points:

1. An individual who has stayed in peer-to-peer lodging in the last five years is half as likely to prefer staying in a traditional hotel.

2. In 2016, Airbnb will account for 5.4% of total U.S. room supply, up from 3.6% last year according to an estimate from Goldman Sachs. To put this number into perspective, only five star hotel operators have a market share greater than 5%.

The Challenge for Hotels: Getting ahead of Airbnb

While the strategy will need to be unique to each and every property, the general premise can be applied to the industry as a whole. AJ Willmer, a technology consultant based in Beverly Hills states the following, “the technology will take care of itself”. Mr. Willmer is correct and it is important for the hotel industry not to prejudge autonomous vehicle technology.

Today, we do not yet know how the technology will evolve or how individuals will adapt to new modes of transportation. What we do know today is that autonomous vehicles are going to change the world and industries will have to adopt their business models to accommodate for autonomous vehicles.

To successfully adapt business models and prepare for a future with autonomous vehicles, one must remove oneself from the hotel industry and refrain from thinking just like a hotel operator.

The future is autonomous vehicles will be a subscription service. In the future we will subscribe to a car brand and summon one of the car’s models depending on the journey that you were about to embark on. If are going skiing you will summon the SUV, if you are going to the beach you will summon the convertible.

Car Ownership – A Thing of the Past?

The car will be owned, maintained and serviced by the car manufacturer through a subsidiary service such as BMW’s ReachNow. The car no longer will used exclusively by you and your family. “We do feel that the car sharing is going to significantly increase in the future” says John Stapleton, North America CFO of General Motors. Mr. Stapleton is correct to a degree and in the future, the car will be summoned when you need the car.

But what if you had an exclusive premium luxury non-shared subscription for your primary vehicle? You arrive at the hotel and now what do you? Do you tell the autonomous vehicle to park and pay a daily parking fee? Or do you lease the car back to the hotel for a daily hotel credit based on the time you will not need the vehicle?

This would depend on if the hotel offered an autonomous vehicle guest leasing program. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Renault-Nissan Alliance has stated; “Connectivity and autonomous driving are about to change driving in ways we’re only beginning to understand.”

Mr. Ghosn is correct in his thinking and this is why it is important for hotels to once again lead on new technologies. The hotel industry has a long illustrious career of being an innovator. One of the first central fire alarm systems was installed at John Jacob Astor IV’s St Regis in 1904, which improved the safety of the guests staying in the hotel.

An autonomous vehicle guest leasing program would allow hotel owners and operators build upon the legacy of innovation commenced by John Jacob Astor IV with the opening of the St Regis in New York City in 1904.

Autonomous Vehicle Guest Leasing Program

Today’s hotels would be able to streamline their unique approach to customer service, increase food and beverage revenue, incidentals revenue and reduce parking costs and fleet operations overhead by implementing the following an autonomous vehicle guest leasing program strategy.

To streamline the approach to customer service, guests arriving to the property in an autonomous luxury vehicle that they subscribe exclusively to, would be offered the opportunity to lease the vehicle back to the hotel for a daily hotel credit that can be used towards incidentals while on property.

By offering the daily credit in exchange for the vehicle, hotels would eliminate the need to own and operate a fleet of traditional house cars with a driver. By no longer owning and operating a fleet of house cars, hotels would eliminate the monthly overhead costs for car payments, gas and/or electric charging, maintenance, parking and drivers.

Applying a daily hotel credit to a room night is a proven strategy that allows hotels to discount room nights without lowering the published room rate. Based on historical spending averages, hotel guests tend to spend more when they are receiving a daily hotel credit.

While hotels would not be able to depend on an autonomous vehicle guest leasing program to replace their house cars on day one, they would be able to depend on the program in the future as premium non-shared autonomous vehicles gain market share.

Additional Benefits

    • Vehicle insurance payments would be reduced to liability as the hotel would insure the autonomous vehicle while it is leased to the hotel by the guest.

    • Not only would this reduce monthly expenditures, it would lead to an increase of TRevPAR (total revenue per available room) as guests would be more likely to stay on property for meals and order a nicer bottle of wine at dinner, which would increase their incidentals spend while the vehicle generates revenue for the hotel.

    • As vehicles sit idle 94% of the time, hotels have to park the vehicles on valuable land that could be used to further enhance the guest experience instead of storing cars. For example there are 16 five star hotels in Los Angeles County according to American Express Travel and Los Angeles County has approximately 200 square miles of land (14%) devoted to parking according to a study from the Journal of the American Planning Association.

Imagine if a percentage of that land could be converted into green spaces in and around hotels what it would do to the guest experience? With sixteen five star hotels and hundreds of miles of land devoted to parking, hotel owners and operators in Los Angeles County have the perfect opportunity to optimize land use by developing and implementing an autonomous vehicle leasing program.

Autonomous vehicle leasing programs are the future. It is a program that is currently not well suited for Airbnb today due to the structure of how the peer-to-peer lodging industry currently operates with individuals hosts.

Once again, hotels will have the advantage when it comes to new innovations. But this advantage will not last forever. It is important for hotel owners and operators to fully embrace autonomous vehicles as they are the future that will allow their businesses to continue to grow in the midst of fierce competition.

Autonomous Vehicle Guest Leasing Program is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on Continental’s 2025AD.

Top image: Courtesy of Fotolia / chameleonseye

Hold the Chauffeur! Beverly Hills Pushing for Fleets of Self-Driving Cars

“Imagine an autonomous vehicle going down Rodeo Drive,” says Mayor John Mirisch, who has met with tech giants Google and Apple to drum up interest (and investment) to make his municipality the first to integrate self-driving cars into its mass-transit infrastructure.

In case you didn’t have enough screens in your life, Grayson Brulte wants you to add one more: your car. Specifically, if the co-chair of the city of Beverly Hills Mayor’s Autonomous Vehicle Task Force prevails, your self-driving car.

The city has met with such tech giants as Google and Apple to drum up interest (and investment) in an effort to become the first municipality to integrate self-driving cars into its mass-transit infrastructure. But beyond all the civic advantages, Brulte insists that Hollywood should get behind the initiative for self-serving reasons. “The industry is going through massive disrupting changes,” he says. “But no one is looking at autonomous vehicles.”

Recent studies underscore the upside. “The car is effectively the fourth screen for media content consumption,” declared a 2016 Morgan Stanley report. “In our view, this is what Silicon Valley will be targeting by leveraging the autonomous utility.” In that vein, a recent Ernst & Young report concluded that driverless cars could generate $20 billion in incremental growth through increased streaming revenue.

Beverly Hills seeks to be a home for these futurist visions, a place where, Brulte hopes, industry players will see how driverless cars can improve their lives — and their bottom line. “Hollywood execs take for granted that everyone wants to watch their content,” he says. “The studios should make sure their content is there. It has to be different from a phone, or a house — there has to be an experience for the car.”

Beverly Hills already is a top contender as a lab for driverless cars. The first rail stop of Metro’s Purple Line is set to debut in 2023, but the city could be on track to have its own fleet of autonomous cars or mini-buses well before then. In April, the City Council voted unanimously to create a program to develop self-driving cars as part of a public transportation plan that would use existing infrastructure and technology to help connect cars to the city’s informational grid.

“L.A. is faced with a public transportation system that is second-class,” says Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch, who hopes to have a fleet up and running in five to seven years. “We aim to shift that paradigm on its head.” Mirisch says the excellent roads, quality infrastructure and well-educated populace in Beverly Hills make it an ideal place for auto engineers, inventors and tech companies to make a big splash. The city is in talks with such car manufacturers as Google, Volvo and BMW as well as with cutting-edge companies like Local Motors, an Arizona firm that manufactures self-driving cars with 3D printers.

“Imagine an autonomous vehicle going down Rodeo Drive,” says Mirisch. “A lot of entertainment people who wanted to go into town wouldn’t have to worry about parking.”


What will life be like here when you no longer can complain about traffic? Within a few decades, the Hyperloop, a high-speed rail and self-driving cars will alter how you travel — and how fast.


From a proposed L.A. terminus in Santa Clarita, Elon Musk’s high-speed tube-transport system could reach San Francisco in less than an hour. Tests of the technology, which theoretically could top 700 mph, already are underway.


With construction underway (in the Central Valley), this project is slated to serve L.A. and San Francisco by 2029. The trains, which will travel up to 220 mph, would connect the two cities in two hours and 40 minutes.


Beverly Hills is pursuing plans that would make it the nation’s first city to integrate autonomous vehicles into its public-transit system.


Overdue growth to existing rail might be less futuristic than 700 mph pneumatic tubes but arguably more transformational for most Angelenos. Highlights include a new line linking Culver City and the rest of the Westside to LAX (2019) and a Purple Line extension down Wilshire to La Cienega (2023) and — don’t hold your breath — Westwood (2035).


Elon Musk and his Hawthorne-based SpaceX plan to send well-funded private travelers to Mars by 2024 (arriving a year later).

As featured in the July 22, 2016 issue of The Hollywood Reporter