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AutoMobility LA: How tech start-ups advance big car makers

by Danny Zepeda | July 24, 2016July 24, 2016 9:00 am PDT

Tesla and many other companies have trailblazed the innovation that comes to big car makers, but sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective to develop a radical idea. AutoMobility LA, which is holding a Top Ten Automotive event for startups this November, highlights companies working to create unconventional concepts and ideas.

For the second time this November, LA Auto Show and AutoMobility LA, formerly known as the ConnectedCar Expo and LA Auto Show Press & Trade Days, will hold it’s annual Top Ten Automotive Startup event at the Convention Center in Los Angeles. Going through a rebranding this year, this is the first time the event is being referred to as AutoMobilityLA. The event will see the introduction of ten finalists chosen by the LA Auto Show Advisory Board to focus on recognizing the nominees they deem worthy of potentially altering the way technology and other innovations advance the automotive, transportation and mobility industry. The Advisory boards are comprised of senior executives from Google, Lyft, NVIDIA, Pandora and the City of Los Angeles.

The Top Ten competition doesn’t crown one single winner but is meant to create a platform for ten startups with budding potential. The idea behind the whole event is pretty cool. Even with all their resources, car makers can fail to properly add certain advancements into their research and development. The competition makes sure car makers can conjugate with other small companies to talk about really cool technology and ideas. From this exposure, big companies or investors can choose to invest or buy out some of these companies and incorporate them into their business.

Lyft’s involvement with The ConnectedCar Explo last year ignited a partnership with GM—and a $500 million investment—that has the two working together on self-driving electric taxis. Another previous Top Ten entry, Elio Motors, received nearly $17 million in seed money. The entries have the opportunity to present a video and create interest in their company. They also get to connect with magazines for feature pieces to continue to grow their brand.

Think of the event as a platform to announce what these companies can do. In an interview with TechnoBuffalo, Conference Director Andy Gryc was emphatic that the lifeblood of new mobility comes from startups. These companies are creating game-changing technology, and they deserve an avenue to be promoted, according to Gryc.

It’s not hard to see why the consolidation of the automotive and tech industry has become so important for car innovation. Movement in the car industry has merged with the boom in technology. The rise of smartphones and tablets paved the way for cars to adapt similar technology. Tesla’s 17-inch iPad-like display and Auto Pilot feature are only two of the features that will eventually come standard in cars in five to ten years. It’s so important for big car makers to be aware of all possible innovations that can improve the experience the car delivers. That means paying attention to what crazy ideas the little guys are working on.

The event will begin Nov. 14 with Ford President and CEO Mark Fields delivering the keynote on Nov. 15. AutoMobility LA runs through Nov. 17 with the LA Auto Show taking placing November 18-27.


Danny Zepeda

Born and raised in Southern California, Danny grew up on a steady diet Pixar, Star Wars and Steven Spielberg movies. Unbeknownst to him, this was...

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