Part Two of our four-part series recapping the summit’s four days of exhibits, announcements and interactivity
The second day of AutoMobility LA proved to be all about preparing the auto industry for the profound changes here and to come. It included looking at driverless futures, alternative fuels, more inclusive service for consumers, and broaching concerns about declining car sales, among other things. The entire day was an information fest that brought about a great deal of good conversation during breaks. Some of the highlights featured key players in the automobile industry and thought-leaders in tech clearly showing us all that the vehicle revolution is at hand.
2021 is the magic year for BMW
Hyundai partners to bring service your way
Hyundai has entered into partnerships with the Mountain View, California, startup Smartcar (not SmartCar from Daimler, but Smartcar, a connected car API for developers), which expands the automaker’s BlueLink service, WaiveCar — a free electric car sharing service accessed via an app on your smartphone — and Washos, a mobile car washing program that comes to wherever you are to wash your car. All of this is to make owning a Hyundai even more appealing.
Four heavy hitters in the world of automotive sales discussed concerns over the changing landscape of vehicle ownership. All announced this is a dream time for dealers, not a time to give in to fear. Opportunities for transforming car dealing and engagement have never been more expansive. By embracing rather than denying these changes and the vehicle revolution as a whole, dealers are poised to become more valuable to both car buyers and the industry in general rather than less. Some ideas on how to work within this new normal were: flexibility in ownership, subscription models — the ability to flip your car as often as you like during a lease term; manufacturers building stronger relationships with their dealers; establishing dealers as experts in the new technologies so that consumers trust them as the go-to when in need of assistance with autonomy and alternative fuels; and optimizing and personalizing the automobile business by putting a stronger focus on that consumer/dealer relationship while bringing actual transaction times down to no more than five minutes to complete.
Waymo sets the standard
Twenty-three different cities, over four million miles on public roads and 25,000 cars running in a simulated environment show that Waymo has been setting the standard all autonomous and driverless vehicle makers follow since 2009. CEO John Krafcik discussed the challenges of weather, Waymo’s partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), and the fact that the company’s sole purpose is to create a “proper driverless car.” Not shying away from the hurdles autonomous vehicles are facing, Krafcik stood behind the need to keep testing, and the belief that the transmitter bubble on top of the car provides a level of trust and comfort to potential riders/drivers.
Toyota discovers a happy medium
Gil Pratt, the CEO of the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) took a look through the different autonomous driving options Toyota is investigating — Guardian and Chauffeur. Guardian is a driver assist program while Chauffeur manages the drive completely.
Looking at the pros and cons of both as he discussed where autonomy is going and what makes the most sense for it, Pratt announced that Guardian is the path TRI is taking as the think tank moves forward with connected vehicles.
WayRay wins the day
The second day of AutoMobility LA included a presentation of the award for the winner of the 2017 Top Ten Automotive Startups. The honor went to WayRay, an innovative heads-up display system that is more interactive, easier to navigate and takes up less space on your car’s windshield.
Personal, private flying machines and a pop culture dream come true
Among the notable presentations was one featuring two innovative companies looking into personal flying machines, a vivid reminder that a real vehicle revolution is taking place. Sandi Adam, CMO for Zunum Aero, a company that plans to bring hybrid electric flight to the masses in 2022, was joined by Paul DeLorean, the CEO of DeLorean Aerospace, makers of what many say will be the first flying car. If the Paul DeLorean name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the nephew of John DeLorean, whose iconic metal car took Marty McFly Back to the Future in the 1980s.
Food for thought
AutoMobility LA ended its second day with a networking mixer that allowed for further discussion on the new ideas presented and what a vehicle revolution means for the industry. With all of the information that had been shared, there was a great deal of anticipation for day three when exhibits would be opened and the ability to experience some of the hardware mentioned over the first two days would be possible.