City as a Lab Summit: The Birth of Autonomous Marketplace – Day 1

Introduction

Themed as “The Birth of Autonomous Marketplace”, from April 4th to 5th Ljubljana, Slovenia, held the City as a Lab Summit. Ljubljana, known as Little Venice due to its Ljubljanica River that flows through the city, is one of the greenest cities in Europe and also spectacularly decorated with Art Nouveau architecture.

City as a Lab Summit is a high level event with the participation of distinguished stakeholders from the industry (i.e. automotive, tech, finance, etc) and society willing to foster the suggested theme of creating the autonomous marketplace.

I am glad to have been invited to participate as a keynote speaker, also part of a roundtable discussion at the event.

Day one

The gathering kicked off with an opening speech by the organizers, then AV Living Lab came on stage to describe the meaning of City as a Lab. Overall, the proposal is an advanced digital platform that connects the industries, advanced technologies, data, content and people, and the physical environment to form an ecosystem and develop new breakthrough solutions for the future of mobility. (City as a Lab Summit, 2019). AV Living Lab offers an advanced test track to develop and test autonomous solutions.

Following, a number of company representatives stepped on the stage in the morning to cover mobility services for the autonomous marketplace, including me.

I represented Scania, only heavy commercial vehicle represented on stage this time, to speak of “Moving forward with cooperative smart mobility” with the proposal to present Scania’s vision on Autonomous Solutions to pursue a sustainable transport system that is key in the mobility ecosystem, such as: Corporate Mobility as a Service solution, trial of autonomous buses in actual bus operations on public roads, and a vendor agnostic vision of an autonomous seamless shared transport system that shall be at the heart of mobility in smart cities. I will share details of my presentation in a different article.

My new colleague Fede Ponce came on stage with a passionate and inspirational speech about human center design, i.e. how to design vehicles for the better of humans, not machines. I was a mind catching speech, also corroborated by my new friend Massimo Martinotti from Italdesign. I’m sure both managed to make everyone think beyond the business. I loved spending some pleasant time talking to these very passionate guys who have a lot to share. Always good to talk to brilliant people that think beyond the common ground.

I was also part of the roundtable discussion “New Mobility for All”, moderated by journalist John Koetsier from FORBES, along with colleagues from Magna, Nissan, Hella and Nomago. More than an hour of moderated discussions about enabling mobility for everyone and the challenges to accomplish from different points of view.

After a nice lunch, the afternoon was dedicated to topics on Mobility Apps and Content for Autonomous Marketplace.

Coming from the commercial vehicle industry, maybe one would think this is a side topic which is only good to know. Certainly a mistake if one thinks so! Since we are discussing integrated systems, seamless, common platform, it is an important topic once we must acknowledge that content is a fundamental piece in the mobility ecosystem being formed.

My colleague David-Emanuel Hauptmann from Autonomous Intelligent Driving - AID (a company also part of the VW Group), spoke of the importance of building an autonomous market for the people – autonomy for the people – which I also highlighted in my presentation and roundtable: an autonomous system needs to be practical from a customer point of view to put the needs and requirements of the citizens first, and to develop a technical solution that maximizes their benefits during their journeys. The system should not be only treated as IoT devices for enterprises, but focus on the end user: the traveller.

As we know, content is king once one knows how to use the information (predictability, statistics, probabilistic, AI, etc). Highlight here is the FinTech and real estate companies that are coming onboard as part of the autonomous mobility ecosystem with a serious approach to understand the future of the market and its implications on their future offerings, a highlight by JPMorgan on how Silicon Valley addresses innovation. A lot of questions were put to reflect upon.

Following, JP Morgan continued on stage with hilarious (but serious) war stories from Steve Jobs by Andy Grignon who had the great pleasure to work closely with Steve Jobs at Apple.

A roundtable discussion about “the future channel for your content and services in new connected and autonomous mobility era” closed the agenda of the day. A highlight on the need to build a disruptive system for the good of people, i.e. an autonomous world should free up time and collaborate to improve the quality of life of the individuals, i.e. give freedom back to people.

Later in the afternoon, the attendees could experience a couple of live demos, namely: Lexus experience by Lexus, Autonomous Driving Experience by AMZS - Slovenian Automobile Association, and Driving Simulator by Nervtech.

The rest of the evening was spent in a “Networking and Experience Sharing Event”, a nice title for partying with drinks and food with superb hospitality by the organizers. And very good new friends…

Conclusion

All in all, it is about autonomous driving as a disruptive technology which will transform the future of the mobility patterns as we know it today.

One company cannot individually address the innumerous challenges as autonomous technologies develop at a fast pace in an environment full of uncertainties. Hence, the cooperation with the industry, authorities, academia and, very important, the public, is key to build partnerships across different stakeholders to take advantage of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This is my understanding of the birth of autonomous marketplace.

Cheers!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect neither the position of the company I work, nor of any official authority, nor any private entity, nor City as a Lab summit, nor the companies and people mentioned in this article.

References

1.      City as a Lab Summit. April 3, 2019. Retrieved from AV Living Lab speech in City as a Lab Summit.

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