Trends in Auto Tech (part 1)

I spent the last two months working from Saint Petersburg in Russia where I had the opportunity to engage with a great community of Python and Data Science engineers. I was greatly surprised by the rich social and networking activities they organize in a weekly basis: from conferences, formal talks, and global meetups with a few hundred attendees, to more informal drinkups and breakfast meetups.

This blog post is a summary of my talk about ‘Trends in Auto Tech’ at one of those events. You can find the slides and video at the end.

Problem and emerging solutions

Road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among 15-29 years old population. Even though we have seen a lot of improvements on safety since the first car was manufactured 100+ years ago, there is still a lot of work ahead to reduce the more than 3,000 current deaths per day.

Recently, more computer power has accelerated the use of artificial neural networks. This has led to software programming getting seriously into the car industry in two forms: 1) Semi-Autonomous Vehicles or Assisted Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), and 2) Fully Autonomous Vehicles. ADAS are the technologies based on camera and sensors that help the driver in the driving process. An example of this is Tesla Autopilot. The autopilot capability is able to keep the car on the track, break, accelerate and steer the wheel as appropriate, however it requires the driver to be in control all the time in the case is needed. Autonomous is when the car is able to drive without a driver. It’s a full driverless car. This means the largest transition ever in the car industry for both business and adoption perspectives (read 3 Ways To Speed Up The Adoption Of Autonomous Vehicles).

Industry transition

In the past couple of decades, the software development has been disrupting few industries. The Internet, Mobile, and Video Streaming have changed completely retail, banking, telecom, transportation, and entertainment businesses. Customers just love the easy to use, rapidly evolving, consistency and seamless experience across devices.

The car industry has remained vertical in the past, where just car manufacturers and suppliers built the entire end-to-end experience, according to a study from McKinsey. Today, customers demand a more horizontal model with participation from tech companies and third-party creators. They want a car with features that get updated over-the-air every week, that can play a podcast that continues at home, and learns from users habits to reduce the number of interactions. Even car owners with expensive built-in navigation systems, use Google Maps or Waze on their iPhones while driving.

Cars could become soon phones with wheels, and most businesses and use cases around the car would change forever. This will be a great opportunity for startups able to blend software with great customers experience, and for looking-forward car designers to let them use the car’s resources safely.

Investments

Investors are looking into auto tech startups for their ability to use software to improve safety, convenience, and efficiency in cars.

In addition to connected vehicle/driving data, fleet telematics, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and auto cybersecurity, the more promising area is assisted and autonomous driving. According to CBInsights, investments deals in auto tech private companies already counted for more than $4B in 2017 and keep growing, most of the localized in a few regions.

Some examples of these deals are NuTonomy, a robo-taxi service in Singapore, Drive.ai that creates AI software for autonomous vehicles using deep learning, and FiveAI that build software for urban mobility in public transport.

Stay tuned for the second part of this post to learn more about trends in auto tech technologies and use cases.

Trends in Auto Tech by Rafael Marañón, CEO at Wavyn

[Video] https://youtu.be/DxbSTcPlnQ4

[Slides] https://www.slideshare.net/rmaranon/trends-in-auto-tech

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3 Ways To Speed Up The Adoption Of Autonomous Vehicles

Three-quarters (78%) of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle. According to the survey, they explain that by trusting themselves more than the technology, feeling the new car advances are too new and unproven, that it is also annoying and last, but not the least- not willing to pay extra for it.

How can we transition smoothly to self-driving cars?

Overcome Phycological Challenges

Latest research indicates that ethical dilemmas, overreactions to accidents, and the opacity of the cars’ decision-making algorithms can delay the adoption of self-driving cars. Nobody wants to buy a car that would sacrifice passengers to save pedestrians lives.

The role of media is not always helping as the video of accidents go viral, showing how unreliable can be the new technology.

In order to help, more transparency and familiarity with highly automated car technologies can help customers to change their mental models and build trust. Early adopters would have this as an opportunity to show off responsibility and commitment to reduce total number of road accidents. You can test your mental model in the MIT Moral Machine website.

Start with driving assistants

Self-driving cars promise many benefits. However, it will take many years to reach the masses. As today, new car buyers can enjoy from $20K active automobile safety features such as collision avoidance or lane keeping assist. You won’t be able to watch a movie while in a traffic jam, but they will prevent up to 40% of the rear-end car crashes according to a Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) report.

Still, only half of car models include those features as standard. Customers have to make the hard decision to add them for at least $1K at the risk of turning them off later if they don’t like. Notice that not everyone is yet comfortable with a car computer controlling the break and steering wheel. And that makes drivers more likely to adopt only-alert type of driving assistance features like forward collision or lane departure warning.

The good news for driver assistance technologies that doesn’t require intervention, is that can also be integrated in old cars. This is a great motivation for software and consumer electronics startups that can now target to a billion car market operating without any type of driving assistant technology.

Excellent Driving Experience (DX)

Noisy driver assistance is a big complain. While useful at the beginning, it become annoying over time, to the point you end up switching it off permanently (an IIHS study found that two-thirds of drivers turned off the lane departure warning). Designers has the challenging job to create enjoable and safety driving experiences in an environment where the number of software features will increasing rapidly.

Like other mobile apps personalize our experience based on our usage, we may expect very soon our car to sense what route I’m taking, if I’m driving sleepy, or with other passengers and set alerts accordingly so it doesn’t bother and keep me aware.

If we want those feature become more a life-saver than annoying ‘turn signal nanny’, as designers we need understand drivers mood and behavior, and provide a balanced flexibility and warnings for the technology to become a trusted buddy driver.

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Good-bye Silicon Valley, Hola Andalucía!

Rafa Marañón - Amazon & Cisco - From Silicon Valley to Andalucia

After 6+ years in Silicon Valley launching amazing products, I quit my job at Amazon and moved back to Spain. Even though it was a hard decision, I’m thrilled to start climbing the next mountain in my career: I’m building an AI/ML team in Andalucía to create technologies for autonomous vehicles.

During my time at both Amazon and Cisco, I was fortunate to work with the most talented people in the world shipping breakthrough technologies and experiences that impacted millions of customers. THANK YOU for all the fun, patience and walking with me the beautiful journey of changing the way people live!

– Rafa Marañón (@rafaelmaranon)

Amazon Fire TV Launch. Rafa Marañón - Amazon & Cisco - From Silicon Valley to Andalucia

Amazon Fire TV Launch

Amazon Fire TV Launch - Rafa Marañón - Amazon & Cisco - From Silicon Valley to Andalucia

Amazon Fire TV Launch

Amazon Fire TV launch - Rafa Marañón - Amazon & Cisco - From Silicon Valley to Andalucia

Amazon Fire TV launch

Amazon Fling SDK launch - Rafa Marañón - Amazon & Cisco - From Silicon Valley to Andalucia

Amazon Fling SDK launch

Amazon FC Training - Rafa Marañón - Amazon & Cisco - From Silicon Valley to Andalucia

Amazon FC Training

Cisco Live IoT Demo - Rafa Marañón - Amazon & Cisco - From Silicon Valley to Andalucia

Cisco Live IoT Demo

Cisco team offsite - Rafa Marañón - Amazon & Cisco - From Silicon Valley to Andalucia

Cisco team offsite

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