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AutoMobility LA is a yearly event produced by the LA Show that shows new mobility concepts, awards new solutions, exhibits technology and presents talks by industry analysts and leaders. Themes at the event on Tuesday at the Los Angeles Convention Center included the future of automotive technology, security, luxury, services and electrification

“This year at AutoMobililty LA we are excited to see so many women, new mobility concepts, electric vehicle support, connectivity and new startups,” said Andy Gryc, AutoMobility LA’s Conference Director

Laura Schwab, the President of Aston Martin Lagonda, The Americas, started off the event explaining how Aston Martin is changing and bringing the new DBX Crossover to market. The company will evolve beyond cars taking luxury to the air and underwater. The Volante Vision concept is a luxury personal aircraft that will offer customers a new freedom, with vertical take-off and landing. Customers can also explore underwater adventures in Project Neptune, a venture with Triton Submarines -a luxurious submarine for two.

Giovanni Palazzo, President & CEO of Electrify America, noted that the company is racing to create an open, fast charging network ready for the new wave of electric vehicle models that will hit the road, creating a high demand for fast charging services. Popular Science named Electrify America’s electric vehicle charging system an award winner for its 2018 ‘Best of What’s New’ in the automotive category. The company, owned by Volkswagen Group, is funded with $2Billion to mitigate the damage from the VW diesel-emissions settlements by investing in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure.

Keeping with the electrification theme, LA-based electric truck maker Thor won the first prize of the Top Ten Startups competition. CEO Giordano Sordoni explained that the company chose to make mid-range trucks electric to reduce fuel and operating costs. Also, the company has received backing from the state of California and will be profitable.

Thor won the first prize of the Top Ten Startups competition. Credit: Lynn Walford

“Most medium fleet trucks like FedEx and UPS drive 150 miles (241.4 KM) or less and return to home base,” Sordoni told the judges.

Thor is making its own patented batteries but also working for suppliers to assemble the electric trucks that will start production in the first quarter of 2019.

Jeffrey Hannah Director, North America -SBD Automotive lead a panel of seventh-grade girls, many of whom still wanted to own a car, have ridden in Uber or Lyft vehicles and mentioned that they liked green electric cars.

Rivian showed its new electric off-road vehicles which they call “the world’s first electric adventure vehicles”- the R1T pickup truck and R1S, a 7-passenger SUV.

“With great performance, storage and efficiency on road and off road, Rivian is enabling people to have adventures, to take their kids, take their friends to the mountains, to the ski resort to grandma’s house and to the lakeside,” says CEO RJ Scaringe.

“The vehicles are based on a skateboard framework and offer many areas of storage with a sense of strength and purpose. All the interior materials are like ski-jacket materials, something you want to be sitting on”, says Scaringe.

The suspension of the Rivian vehicles can make the grade at “a level never seen before” and vehicles can be immersed into up to one meter of water.

Director of Automotive Connected Mobility at Strategy Analytics Roger C. Lanctot lead a panel on blockchain.

“One of the most critical topics facing the industry is cybersecurity and managing the process of creating, selling and servicing cars,” said Lanctot. “Blockchain has the potential to serve as a platform for tackling cybersecurity and product lifecycle management in the context of a complex and changing supply chain and vehicle owning landscape.”

Panel on Blockchain. Credit: Lynn Walford

Naghmana Majed, Industry Leader for Automotive and A&D Industries at IBM said that she sees a lot of hype around blockchain and suggested that companies test out blockchain when there is a business model for it. Meanwhile, Rahul Sonnad, CEO of Tesloop sees that the high cost of blockchain data makes it “a way off”. Chris Ballinger, CEO and Co-founder of MOBI suggested that the industry join the MOBI organization to help set standards and create use cases “to make the world a better place.”

“Pardon my pun but we at Honda want to change it from autono-me to autonomo-us,” said Ted Klaus, Vice President and Executive Engineer, Honda R&D Americas. He showed how Honda is progressing to autonomous driving making sure that pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists and others on the road are always safe.

Honda demonstrates safety solutions for autonomous vehicles. Credit: Lynn Walford

Honda is working on the Smart Mobility Corridor Project, a private-public partnership with the state of Ohio to develop a prototype connected highway. Honda is using the “Safe Swarm” concept, which is fashioned after how fish swarm in the simultaneous movement of multiple vehicles. The cars communicate with each other to reduce traffic congestion and prevent potential collisions. Honda is also working on smart intersections with cameras that allow drivers to see what is around the corner.

During the BYTON Press Conference, Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, CEO and Co-founder of BYTON, revealed the K-Byte luxury sedan that will sell for $45,000. He detailed how AI is used in all aspects of the vehicle. Auto Futures will be profiling the company in a feature article this Thursday.

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