The positive forecast for autonomous driving is made by Tobias Wessels, who sees great potential in this technology for the transformation of mobility – and for the lives of citizens. In our interview, he provides an outlook on the great potential of autonomous driving and which role artificial intelligence plays in its development.
Tobias Wessels is Helm.ai’s Chief Development Officer in Silicon Valley, California. As the former CFO of Google’s moonshot incubator “GoogleX”, Tobi is a seasoned mobility expert who rode in self-driving cars more than a decade ago when Waymo was still called “Chauffeur”. Today, Tobi establishes partnerships with car companies around the world and enables autonomous driving in a safe and capital efficient way through Helm’s Deep Teaching technology.
What will happen if we don´t shift our mobility behaviour?
TW: We will lose: money, living quality in our cities and quality of lives like health and freed-up time for ourselves. We have a lot to gain by changing our behavior and modes of transportation.
What do we have to radically invent, improve or change to realize the turnaround in transport policy?
TW: We must increase our Renewal Rate for transportation: mobile phones advance so quickly because they are renewed every two years and there’s tremendous innovation in the market over short periods of times. Large vehicle-systems are renewed every 20 years which stifles innovation.
What will be the most important thing about “mobility” in 10 years from now that comes to your mind?
TW: Autonomous Vehicles will become present in every day’s life. We cannot overestimate the impact this will have on people’s lives and future services that this brings.
If you were able to use only ONE mobility solution for the rest of your life – what mobility solution would you choose?
TW: The bicycle. It’s hard to find a solution that has a) high efficiency, b) low cost and c) can be fun for your hyper-local daily life.
What do you think which technology will play a big role – if not the biggest role – in shaping the future of mobility?
TW: Artificial intelligence, as it will govern AV safety, scalability, and cost.
In which way will your topic improve the aspects sustainability and inclusion in terms of mobility?
TW: Autonomous Driving will significantly reduce the energy consumption for car-based vehicles even electric vehicles. Why? a) Autonomous Cars have less mass than other vehicles which is even more pronounced for delivery vehicles; b) Autonomous cars can operate at slower speeds (vs. people operated vehicles); and c) Autonomous Vehicles can drive and operate more efficiently (means also avoiding congestions and drive perfectly).
Which mobility best cases particularly impress you and why?
TW: I’m impressed by advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) that can perform in bad weather: everyone can drive a car on a sunny day, driving safely in detrimental situations is challenging but also highly rewarding and can save millions of lives.
Legal requirements, money, ideas, skills – what is needed the most in your sector in terms of future mobility and why?
TW: The three things that are required to successfully launch an L4 (level four) product are i) innovation in AI, ii) validation on a large-scale platform and iii) capital. Therefore, we have focused on our unique approach to unsupervised machine learning via Deep Teaching and our GTM strategy is ADAS, as a first step toward L4.