CleanTechnica will cover the LA Auto Show 2018 this coming week, as we have regularly done for the past few years. Since this year is light on electric vehicle (EV) and autonomous vehicle (AV) unveilings, we will concentrate on forums, as well as leading-edge startups. One forum we look forward to covering is the Car Design Forum 2018.
Chasing subtle cues of how the automotive industry sees our future is not always easy. Press releases are more geared to the future than what you see at dealerships, but they are also typically unrealistic. Covering startups is interesting as they seem to put their money where their mouth is with regards to design, but it is hard to count on them lasting or even getting to market. But a forum of experts discussing design evolution could be useful for understanding what will really change automotive design trends. The Car Design Forum 2018 promises a good representation of the automotive industry and should give us insight into this matter.
New Brands, New Ideas
The first forum is entitled “New Brands, New Ideas” and will be moderated by Chris Maillard, editor in Chief at CDN. The panelists are Stefan Lamm, Vice-President of the Mercedes-Benz, Advance Design North America; Benoit Jacob, Vice President of Design at Byton, whom I interviewed recently; Derek Jensen, Vice President of Design at Lucid Motors; and Dan Darancou, Design Director at CH-Auto (Chinese only). Stay tuned for more on CH-Auto, as we will soon break a fascinating story on that Chinese startup and Mullen Technologies.
Does anything stand out? There are more startups than traditional carmakers on this panel.
Into The Virtual World
The afternoon also promises fruitful discussions with “Into The Virtual World,” from gaming technology to virtual reality and even augmented reality (AR). The moderator will be Stewart Reed from the Art Center and the panel will include Andrew Moir, Design Manager Hyundai North America; T Jon Mayer, Senior Director of Design, Volvo Cars USA; Michael Smith, Design Manager, Ford Motor Company; and Frank Saucedo, Director of Advance Design, GM North America.
This forum will focus on the increasing role AR and AI are playing in the mobility world. It will highlight what traditional carmakers are doing today for the future of mobility. I would have liked to have seen a better balance of startups and traditional automakers.
The Control Panel
The last forum is The Control Panel. How can you resist that one? The UX and HMI design toolkit that has opened up the broader potential of EVs and AVs with giant screens, artificial intelligence (AI), and more. But how safe is it all? The moderator is Dave Muyres of Mobility Future, with contributions from Dave Marek, VP Design at Acura; Lars Falk, Head of Interior Design & Creative UX Design at Geely Design Europe; Brad Gieske, Design Manager, User Experience, FCA US; and Alfonso Albaisa, Senior VP Global Design at Nissan Motor Company.
Speaking of security, our last interview with Dr. Carsten Breitfeld showed me how these startups manage to clinch top IT security experts in the mobility industry, and an upcoming one with Abe Chen will add to that. Again, I hoped to see a more balanced panel here.
We’re excited covering this week’s mobility world. We have come a long way from the amazing Tesla Roadster and Tesla Model S. While Tesla continues to push the envelope, sometimes seemingly alone, a few startups are doing a fantastic job hiring top-notch experts in the mobility fold and trying to bring up the rear guard. We look forward to seeing what traditional carmakers are doing as well and how they can continue to play an important role in the future.
Stay tuned for more on Monday, the 26th of November, as CleanTechnica puts its walking shoes on to bring to you what is happening in the future of mobility.