Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a business futurist specializing in technology trends including artificial intelligence, autonomous driving vehicles, object and image recognition, and cognitive computing. It’s difficult to over-estimate the impact cars and trucks have on our way of life. Not only do they dictate our transportation (and parking) infrastructure, but they also determine which jobs people will accept, the distances they’re willing to drive for a given task, and the way they allocate their budgets. Patrick is the author of the award-winning book Anarchy, Inc.: Profiting in a Decentralized World with Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain (2018, Authority Publishing) and a regular speaker for Bloomberg TV. He has lectured at various academic institutions including Purdue and Stanford Universities. Waymo just recently got a license to begin Level 5 autonomous driving in Mountain View, California, and many other jurisdictions are issuing licenses as well. We are only waiting for more of these regulations to pass for self-driving cars begin operating on city streets. Patrick’s focus on disruptive innovation and exponential technologies gives him a unique perspective to the transition from human drivers to autonomous driving technology, and the impact that will have on society at large.
Past speaking clients include:
Recent speaking destinations include:
Expert on Autonomously Driven Vehicles
There are essentially three distinct environments for autonomously driven vehicles. Cities have the most number of obstacles and unusual circumstances. Highways and freeways have significantly fewer obstacles, particular hub-to-hub highway routes. Finally, agricultural land has even fewer obstacles than freeways. Not surprisingly, the agricultural industry is leading the charge, and autonomous tractors are already navigating farm land today. The combines in Iowa do have people on them, but they’re not driving. Regulation allowing long haul autonomous trucking will likely be passed during 2019, and trucking companies have huge incentives to switch over quickly. Almost 50% of trucking rates go directly to the drivers. With autonomous trucking, freight companies have a two-to-one pricing advantage over their competitors. City driving will come last, perhaps beginning in to gain significant traction in 2020 or 2021.
The irony is that, today, there is a massive shortage of truckers. In fact, the industry is characterized by bidding wars and chronic shortages, but the industry will undergo a 180-degree switch within the next few years. Companies like Tesla are selling trucks outfitted with all the necessary hardware already, so the passing of relevant regulations will result in immediate implementation of the technology. Companies like Waymo are already doing Level 5 autonomous driving today, so regulations are the last remaining hurdle there too. It’s likely that any early accidents involving self-driving cars will make headline news, but the actual rates of accidents is already lower than with human drivers, and safety records will continue to improve in the next few years.
There is a five-point scale of autonomous driving. The first level consists of driver assistance like cruise control. The second includes things like lane centering, acceleration and deceleration, and emergency braking. The third level still requires a human to be present in the car, available for unexpected circumstances, but the car can drive itself in normal situations. The fourth level involves the car driving itself in most situations, but not quite 100% yet. There are still situations where a human needs to be present. And finally, the fifth level is characterized by full autonomy where no driver is required at all. Waymo, owned by Google parent Alphabet, began conducting level 5 autonomous driving in 2018, and more pilot programs are sure to follow during 2019.
Autonomous Driving Keynote Speech
Patrick builds his keynotes with case histories and success stories. He also follows companies that emerging as leaders within the field. In the area of self-driving technology, the following companies have shown significant promise.
- Waymo: We’re building the world’s Most Experienced Driver
- Uber: bring safe, reliable self-driving transportation to everyone, everywhere.
- Lyft: A ride whenever you need one.
- nuTonomy: Tomorrow’s Car, Today
- Delphi: Driving Smarter, Not Harder
- Tesla: Full Self-Driving Hardware on All Cars
- Baidu: The technology that can save 3,000 lives each day.