Interview with Ross Douglas, Founder & CEO, Autonomy
What trends are you seeing leading up to Autonomy 2018?
Traditional carmakers are moving very quickly into the new mobility space. For instance, just this past past week we have seen Toyota invest half a billion dollars into Uber. Ford has created a smart mobility segment which has included investing in the microtransit solution company TransLoc. Daimler, meanwhile has started moving into the air mobility space, investing in both Lilium and Volocopter. Plus the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance have announced their €1 billion investment fund with a focus on connected, electric and autonomous mobility.
Not surprisingly, the automotive industry will participate in Autonomy at unprecedented rates due to our event’s new mobility activity. Of the actors I just mentioned, the Alliance is participating in our Funding the Movement start-up program, the CEO of Transloc will be speaking in the Urban Mobility Summit, and joining him in the conference program will also be Lilium and Volocopter. Volocopter will even be be displaying a prototype of their impressive flying taxi at Autonomy. In addition, we are going to to be making a number of major automotive announcements next week so stay tuned.
What is the big focus of Autonomy this year?
Understanding that companies are looking to do deals, Autonomy has invested heavily in a matchmaking platform that enables the new mobility community to arrange B2B meetings at Autonomy. With 10 sponsors including companies likes Qualcomm, Alstom, TomTom, Toyota Mobility Foundation, Indigo Weel, and Oscaro, and 180 exhibitors including ioki (Deutsch Bahn), Wallbox, Saft, Sodetrel and Otonomo, there is a massive diversity of business opportunities to be had at Autonomy. Everyone is welcome to connect and make meetings on our platform (Click here to see the companies already on the platform and register today).
In addition to opportunities being presented by exciting sponsors and exhibitors, we have put a lot of energy into Funding the Movement, where we choose the best 25 start-ups to pitch to some of the biggest venture funds in the world. Our call to over 500 start-ups has had an impressive list of over 100 applicants looking for Series A and B funding. With the help of our venture partners (Porsche’s MHP, Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion, the Alliance, MINI’s Urban-X), we’ll soon start selecting the start-ups most likely to secure funding.
Finally, a new property for this year is the Future of Fleets, which we believe will be connected, electric and often shared. This one-day program features speakers from companies like Fleet Karma, Oto Keys and CSA Carsharing. This is a great opportunity for fleet managers to understand how to generate massive savings for their companies.
The Urban Mobility Summit is Autonomy’s content program. What are this year’s highlights?
The Summit will both start and end with a bang and have lots of incredible content in between. Our opening round table at 10 am on Thursday, 18 October will explore how Paris can become the world’s mobility capital, and will feature a powerhouse panel including Anne-Marie Idrac, the High Representative of the French Government for the development of autonomous vehicles, Catherine Guillouard, the CEO and Chairwoman of RATP Group, Chiara Corazza, the Managing Director of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and the Society, and a high-level speaker representing the Région Île-de-France. Rounding out the panel as moderator will be the great entrepreneur Anne Mellano, the Co-founder of Bestmile.
Finishing up the conference program on Friday, 19 October will be one of my favorite conference blocks: Founders Finding Funders. Markus Villig, the CEO of Taxify will share how his carshare start-up has become only Europe’s second mobility unicorn, while Stan Boland, Founder & CEO of FiveAi and Doug Kaufman, President of TransLoc, talk about how they have steered their own mobility companies towards major success.
Thursday afternoon will bring an enormous array of AV-related conferences where speakers from companies such as TomTom, Lilium, Volocopter, INRIX, Bestmile, Qualcomm and ioki (Deutsche Bahn) will discuss what we need to make autonomous mobility, both on the ground and in the air, a reality. And, as always, we will have fascinating conferences covering the entire ADESA spectrum, featuring speakers from Uber, Nissan, Alstom, Toyota, FIA, the European Commision, Waze, and many more. If you are looking to join in on the most important conversations in urban mobility, then the Summit is the place to be!