Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Democratization of Transportation

I had the opportunity to speak yesterday at a conference in L.A. (ACM SIGSPATIAL) and during the Q&A someone asked a good question: “Won’t the benefit of autonomous vehicles largely benefit those who are rich and can afford them?”

It’s a good question, but the answer is resoundingly “No!” – just the opposite in fact.

The vast majority of those investing in autonomous vehicles are not doing so to sell high-end luxury cars to individuals.  Rather, they are investing in autonomous vehicles to deliver “mobility as a service” – fleets of vehicles that can take people from point A to B.  Think Uber without the drivers.  Uber, Waymo, GM’s Maven, BMW, etc. are all focusing on enabling ride-sharing fleets of vehicles.

This will primarily benefit those at the lower end of the income range.

Today it costs me about $40 to take an Uber from the airport to my house.  About 70% of Uber’s cost structure isthe drivers.  What happens when these vehicles are autonomous?  The cost goes to $12.  What happens when the algorithms can easily match me going from the airport to Redmond with the person standing 3 people over who is making the same drive and we’re pooled together (ala UberPool)?  The cost goes to $6.

This will lead to the democratization of Transportation.

Today, people who have money buy expensive vehicles and commute to work by themselves.  People who have less money take the bus or some other form of mass transit.  The former go from point A to point B on a direct route while those that take mass transit often take much longer to get from point A to point B due to an indirect route and multiple stops.  With the democratization of transportation, everyone will be able to go from point A to point B inexpensively and conveniently due to the vast number of autonomous cars that will be on the road.  Even people who are well off will prefer this to driving since they’ll have time to be productive on their commute (do e-mail, watch movies, text, etc.) rather than being engaged in driving during their commute.

Rather than autonomous vehicles primarily benefiting people on the high-end of the income range, autonomous vehicles will benefit everyone – especially those on the lower end of the income range since it will shorten their commutes and decrease their overall cost of transportation.

Something to consider…

INRIX partners with Renovo to bring vehicle analytics and OpenCar to autonomous vehicles

Happy to announce our partnership with Renovo today, a highly automated vehicle (HAV) software technology company to bring INRIX vehicle analytics to HAV’s and to integrate INRIX OpenCar with AWare, Renovo’s automated mobility operating system.

I’m super excited about what Chris Heiser (Renovo’s CEO) and his team are doing to build a technology ecosystem for HAV’s.  I think this is a critical component necessary to make HAV’s a reality.



Uber vs. Mass Transit

Great article about how a Canadian town wanted a mass transit system and hired Uber:  “This week, [Innisfil] inaugurated a pilot program for what Uber says is its first full ridesharing-transit partnership, providing subsidized transportation for the town’s 36,000 people.  ‘It’s a better value for money than a traditional transit system.'”

I continue to be fascinated why cities are spending billions and billions on literally 19th-century fixed-rail systems when much more flexible and cost effective approaches to mass transit are available.

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INRIX has a solution to make connected vehicles and road networks safer

Great article about INRIX’s new road safety product to make driving safer:


INRIX supplies real-time traffic data to six of the eight top car manufacturers, but now it’s moving from efficiency to safety with the launch of its latest solution.

The Safety Alerts product suite consists of INRIX Dangerous Slowdowns, INRIX Incidents, and INRIX Road Weather. Each of the products collects real-time data from all the newfangled connected cars hitting the roads and, in combination with other sources, utilise the information to help drivers around the world.

“INRIX has long been focused on making driving not only more efficient, but also safer. INRIX Safety Alerts is an innovative next step to proactively use massive amounts of big data to make connected vehicles and smart cities safer for everyone,” said Mark Daymond, chief technology officer at INRIX. “Drivers, fleet operators and city planners now have a real-time solution for visibility into ever-changing road conditions.”

Real-time data collected from one vehicle could be transmitted to others using INRIX’s services to warn them of dangerous conditions along their route. The information can also be used by agencies to improve their road networks and prevent accidents by focusing efforts in areas that have become a higher risk over time.

Iowa’s Department of Transportation (DoT) is the first agency to utilise one of INRIX’s new Safety Alerts product suite to monitor, measure and manage the state’s road network.

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INRIX Aids South Carolina with Hurricane Matthew Evacuation

WIRED’s Aarian Marshall rightly called them “possible planning frenemies;” government officials, non-profit organizations and private partners combining efforts to move people away from large scale disasters, like Hurricane Matthew. Not typically known for collaboration, she says, these public and private partners came together to develop response plans around community needs. And as government relief efforts began along the East Coast, companies across the country were finding ways to help.

As Hurricane Matthew approached the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coastlines, various public and volunteer organizations prepared for heavy rain, wind and storm surges. All levels of government were involved, including the federal Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, and South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), and many tapped outside organizations for their expertise.

The American Red Cross, for example, readied people around the country to provide shelters, ready-made meals, blankets, supply trucks and medical services. An impressive 75 percent of their vehicle fleet was mobilized serving one million meals, supplying medical devices and treatment, and opening up beds for people leaving their homes. Other relief organizations, like The Salvation Army and The United Way, provided ground support to communities affected by the disaster.

Technology companies also played a vital role in aiding government efforts. Airbnb, for example, activated their Disaster Response Tool, connecting those affected with people who offered rooms, apartments and housing at no cost.

07oct2016_inrix_940amAt INRIX, we dedicated our 80-person rapid response team to the efforts, providing drivers in South Carolina up-to-the-minute information on road and ramp closures. As the SCDOT ordered highway lanes around the coast to be converted to “contraflow” traffic, reversing highway lanes away from the storm’s path, INRIX continually updated its real-time traffic service for SCDOT, mobile apps and connected cars to reflect officials’ plans. Our incident publication was within 60 seconds of SCDOT on-the-ground effort. In addition, INRIX actively monitored all the ramps along the I-26 corridor impacted by contraflow, to deter drivers following routing services from entering the freeway against traffic.

“As always, INRIX is an integral monitoring tool for the operations of traffic management. During Hurricane Matthew, the Traffic Management Centers used INRIX when cameras were not available to evaluate traffic and the information was relayed to Emergency Traffic Management for their use in making decisions regarding the evacuation” – SCDOT’s State Traffic Management Center.

Public officials across the country are finding new ways to leverage data and technology to aid evacuation and recovery efforts. Data is not only crucial before and during an event, but is vital after an event subsides – as data scientists, academics, and public officials review the response to determine lessons learned.

Unfortunately, disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes or floods happen around the world, and underscore the importance of “planning frenemies” coming together and better using technology to prepare.

Agency officials can sign up for free access to the website to learn more about how INRIX real-time data can help in times of emergencies.

The Masterplan: MOBILITY FOR ALL! – The Disruption of the Automotive Industry and Reinvention of Mobility

Fantastic article by Johann Jungwirth, the Chief Digital Officer at VW, on the transformational trends impacting the automobile industry:

Many of us aren’t aware yet how historical the times we live in are. Because not just the automobile is being reinvented through the digital revolution, also the mobility itself is being reinvented: self-driving vehicles without steering wheel and pedals will be driving people and goods through the first cities in just a few years. Overall we are experiencing at the moment the disruption of the automotive industry in three dimensions which are orthogonal to each other:

  1. Digitalization: from human drivers to self-driving vehicles
  2. Sustainability: from combustion engines to electric drive
  3. Urbanization: from ownership to shared mobility


Sound Transit’s expansion will be obsolete before it’s built

An OpEd I wrote for the Seattle Times regarding Sound Transit’s proposed $54B expansion in the Seattle area.  :

AS Puget Sound taxpayers weigh Sound Transit’s $54 billion proposed expansion — a plan calling for 10 times the investment spent doubling the Panama Canal’s capacity — it’s important to ask whether it will be obsolete before it is done?

The light-rail and rapid-ride bus proposal called ST3 will be on the November general election ballot. As proposed, it would be constructed over the next 25 years and is projected to provide transit an additional 1 percent of daily trips by 2040. Some say “we must do something” to address the growing traffic congestion in the Puget Sound region and that ST3 is our best bet. But several major trends are fundamentally changing the nature of mobility around the world and will likely cause ST3 to be obsolete before the ribbons are cut.

 At INRIX, we call these trends ACES, which stands for “autonomous, connected, electric and shared” vehicles. These four megatrends already are having a big impact around the world.
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TU-Automotive Detroit 2016


Last week I had the opportunity to give a keynote address at Telematics Update Detroit 2016.  Good presentation of what we call the ACES: Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared vehicles and how these mega trends are transforming the automotive industry.

Watch out, Waze: INRIX’s new Traffic app is coming for you

Good article from Cars Technica about our new Traffic App:


You may not have heard of INRIX, a traffic data company based in Kirkland, Washington. But if your car’s navigation system has real-time traffic data, there’s a good chance you’ve been using its services. For example, the Audi A4 and Telsa Model X we drove earlier this month get real-time traffic data from INRIX. In the BMW i3 and i8, INRIX provides the range finder service that lets you know how far you can go before needing to recharge (and where you can do that).

Today, the company is taking aim at the mighty Waze with a new smartphone app that leverages its vast crowdsourced traffic database.

Do you remember what it was like trying to navigate in days of old? Back when some of us started driving, if you didn’t want to get lost, you needed a map. (Remember them?) In 2000, then-President Clinton opened up the US’ GPS network, and consumer navigation systems started to proliferate, first as standalone devices, then as installed infotainment systems in our cars, and finally on the screens of our smartphones.

The addition of live traffic updates might have been almost as significant. Suddenly, a navigation system wasn’t just useful for finding your way on unfamiliar roads. Even on a regular commute—one you might drive five days a week, year after year—a navigation system could alert you to jams, roadwork, or hazards.

INRIX has been in on this action, offering iOS and Android traffic apps for a while now, but this latest version looks like a big upgrade in functionality. For one thing, it adds turn-by-turn navigation. “So what,” you’re probably thinking, given that the default map apps for both platforms already have this capacity. In this case, however, the navigation is informed by INRIX’s real-time traffic database, which is constantly updated via the 275 million cars and devices (worldwide, not just in the US) that are already using INRIX’s services.

Perhaps the more interesting aspect is the use of machine learning. Rather than having to manually enter favorite or frequently visited places, Traffic will keep tabs on your routine and work out for itself your frequently traveled routes, including the times of day you make those trips. Like Waze, the apps will interface with your calendar and alert you to the best time to get on the road.

And you can also plan trips based on when you need to arrive at a given destination (a feature Waze recently added for iOS, but which is yet to make it to Android). A neat touch here is a little more customization of alerts, so you can choose how much advanced notice you’re given regarding when it’s time to get on the road; the site’s traffic (using its cloud servers) will keep tabs on this and adjust the notification based on the predicted congestion.

It also takes a slightly different philosophical approach to finding you the quickest route. As anyone who uses Waze knows, these apps are always on the lookout to shave time off your route. This often means sending you through sleepy residential streets replete with speed bumps or telling you to make left turns across busy roads. INRIX takes a different approach, according to Joel Karp, INRIX’s director of product management.

“A great example of this; I just moved up from Los Angeles to Seattle (where INRIX is headquartered), and whenever I needed a route, it always took me on the major freeways, which I never drove. Because we have machine learning and we’re learning your preferred route, and because we think humans are creatures of habit who are unlikely to deviate off that route unless there’s a significant time delta—not 10 seconds, not 45 seconds, not two minutes, we think it’s six-plus minutes—we’re monitoring that route to make sure it’s the right one for you to take that day and if not, whether you know what the better route is, as opposed to just serving up any old route,” he told Ars.

We’ve only been playing with Traffic for a day or so at this point, but it feels like a credible alternative to the Google-owned Waze (even if there’s no road candy to collect nor cat avatars to choose from). If you feel like trying it out, it’s available now via Google Play and the App Store.

INRIX Acquires OpenCar to Challenge Apple and Google in the Car

INRIX expands into the digital dashboard with the first open, industry-friendly, end-to-end infotainment platform



Kirkland, WA and Seattle – March 9, 2016 – INRIX, Inc., a leading provider of dynamic connected car services worldwide, announced it has completed the acquisition of OpenCar, Inc., a U.S.-based automotive software and services provider. The OpenCar purchase extends the successful INRIX cloud platform into the dashboard with a broad portfolio of third-party content and applications in a customizable user experience (UX) automakers fully control.

“Today, over half of the connected vehicles in the world use INRIX services. By 2020, more than a quarter billion connected cars will be on the road[1],” said Bryan Mistele, president and CEO of INRIX. “With the OpenCar acquisition, INRIX is in the driver’s seat to provide those connected services and expand into the digital dashboard with unique, easy-to-use applications designed especially for next-gen automotive experiences.”

OpenCar, backed for the last five years by a strategic partnership with Mazda Motor Corporation, offers the industry’s only white label, standards-based application development environment and framework. Unlike Google’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which limit automaker-specific customization and require access to sensitive car data, the OpenCar framework is fully controlled by the automaker and enables for brand-, model- and region-specific touch and voice interfaces across the entire infotainment experience. This unique capability empowers OEMs to enhance their brand and satisfy consumer demand through a variety of in-car information, media and location-based applications. While OpenCar is designed to understand the data generated by advanced vehicle systems, control of how it is used, shared and stored remains in the hands of the automaker.

Unlike proprietary solutions created by automakers or suppliers to date, INRIX leverages its successful 10-year history of delivering auto-grade, cloud-based solutions to expand OpenCar into the first scalable, global automotive app platform. OpenCar provides developer tools and services to create apps for an open, industry-wide ecosystem. It also enables app deployment across different makes and models while still allowing each automaker to create a unique customer experience.

The application ecosystem, which includes roughly 1,300 registered developers representing hundreds of companies, covers accommodations, city guides, fuel, internet radio, parking, reviews and more. In addition, automakers can manage the complete in-car app lifecycle worldwide, including over-the-air updates, validation, and model or regional specifications. INRIX is committed to continuously expanding the existing content and apps portfolio across all key geographies, which is a key differentiator to other solutions on the market today. Combined with INRIX’s dynamic services already available from leading automakers, including Audi, BMW, Ford, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Tesla, Toyota and Volkswagen, the OpenCar platform is uniquely positioned to revolutionize the connected car experience.

“We’re excited to see additional competition in this important connected car segment,” said Marcus Keith, Head of Audi connect and HMI development at AUDI AG. “The combination of INRIX and OpenCar should be very compelling for bringing new applications.”

“OpenCar enables automakers to create an end-to-end ecosystem for in-car applications that make it easier, safer and more enjoyable to be behind the wheel,” said Jeff Payne, CEO of OpenCar. “INRIX gives us the opportunity to grow the footprint of our app platform much faster, both geographically and with more OEMs.”

Intelligent, Personalized, Seamless Driver Experience
INRIX is also announcing the availability of Autotelligent, a next-generation driver assistance platform. Its cloud-based machine learning enables predictive routing based on where and when drivers go, frequently visited places and preferred routes. Autotelligent automatically creates a daily, personalized itinerary of anticipated trips by accessing the user’s calendar and contacts. In addition, it provides intelligent pre-drive and drive time alerts based on route preferences, congestion, hazardous road conditions and vehicle sensor data, such as if the vehicle needs fuel.

By integrating INRIX’s other driver services – such as Road Weather alerts, intermodal routing for walking and public transit, real-time traffic, and dynamic on- and off-street parking – into a single platform, Autotelligent simplifies integration and service delivery.

Autotelligent works seamlessly with OpenCar to create a complete infotainment platform for connected cars. INRIX empowers automakers to create intelligent in-car applications that work on behalf of drivers – from finding a restaurant to listening to the news, avoiding dangerous road conditions to reserving a parking spot.

“The standardization of in-vehicle app development is a major milestone for the industry and will be a key differentiator for our customers,” said Andreas Hecht, executive vice president and general manager of automotive at INRIX. “Combine that with the power of smart learning and cloud technology, and INRIX is able to offer automakers a legitimate in-car alternative to Apple and Google.”

INRIX will continue to operate the OpenCar application management tools, work with its current customers and maintain the OpenCar office in Seattle. The acquisition will expand the INRIX Seattle-area presence beyond the current headquarters in Kirkland, WA. Terms of the deal will not be disclosed. In August 2015, INRIX acquired ParkMe, a Santa Monica, CA company that is a leader in parking location, availability, and reservations worldwide.