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Friday, 18 May 2018 17:48

Experts Weigh in on the Future of the Automobile

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The Petersen Automotive Museum, in partnership with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, recently held “The Future of the Automobile Conference.” The Petersen Automotive Museum, in partnership with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, recently held “The Future of the Automobile Conference.” Courtesy of Petersen Automotive Museum

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“Fasten your seat belt, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride over the next decade or two,” forewarned John Rossant, who recently spoke during “The Future of the Automobile Conference,” a special event at the Petersen Automotive Museum held in partnership with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. 

“We’re at the cusp of massive disruption, which is why we’re having this conference—the electrification of everything, vehicle connectivity, the arrival of the autonomous world, etc.,” he said.


Rossant, the founder and chairman of NewCities, a global nonprofit institution, and the leader of L.A. CoMotion, was among those who gave their perspective on the rapidly approaching transition to autonomous vehicles. 


Co-hosted by the Petersen Automotive Museum and the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, the day-long event aimed to bring together leading voices from manufacturers, technology companies, urban planners and regulatory agencies. From artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles, every presentation and discussion featured companies that are innovative in the automotive market.


“We are experiencing a fundamental change in the future of transportation probably as significant as the switch from horse-drawn carriages to gasoline-powered cars back in the beginning of the 20th century,” said Peter Mullin, chairman of the board of directors for the Petersen Automotive Museum, which has had an estimated 4 million visitors. 


“The Petersen, as an organization, has almost 25 years of history,” said Mullin. “We think our job is to continue to remain curious, to ask questions, to push the envelope of destructive change and share the history and art of this extraordinary passion for the automobile.”


Terry McCarthy, the executive director of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, moderated the opening panel in which nine speakers talked about their perspectives on the future of the automobile. Here are some of the highlights:



Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for Digital Future at the University of Southern California 


“I think driverless cars are going to change the world. I think they are the most important development of the next 30 years. They are going to change everything about commerce, housing patterns, human activity and the potential to eliminate 34,000 deaths a year, as well as greatly reduce traffic. I think that in 60 years, our grandchildren are going to marvel at the fact that we ever let human beings sit behind the wheel of dangerous weapons.”


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