There’s always some Canadian content at the Los Angeles Auto Show but it might surprise some that a Canadian is at the helm of one of its key components.
For the fourth consecutive year, Andy Gryc is program director and advisory board chair at the show’s AutoMobility LA conference, where panels and speakers look at how rapidly evolving technology is affecting the auto sector.
Gryc is co-founder of Ottawa-based CX3 Marketing, which provides tech-oriented consulting services for companies working in the auto sector. Gryc’s background includes working for QNX Software Systems, the Ottawa infotainment and telematics developer now owned by BlackBerry.
Quarterbacking AutoMobility LA “is a natural fit,” Gryc told Automotive News Canada.
“We knew the space, we knew the players, we knew what was going on,” he said.
Conference focuses include autonomous vehicles, electrification, transportation infrastructure, smart cities and the role of artificial intelligence.
“Our over-arching theme is the kind of things that are making significant changes in how we view mobility,” said Gryc.
The discussions address mobility broadly rather than just the auto sector, he said.
“This is a super-dynamic time for the automotive and transportation industry…because I think the car companies are seeing themselves less as car companies and more as mobility providers.”
The next couple of decades promises a radical transformation of how people use automobiles. The conference will explore aspects such as the impact of car sharing and electrification’s effect on the evolution of autonomous vehicles.
Automakers realize the car-ownership model is fundamentally changing, said Gryc.
“This kind of shift has been happening probably over the last 10 years very slowly but over the last five years at an increasingly accelerated pace,” he said.
It surprises even those involved, Gryc suggested.
“Last year when we talked [it was] about where are we going to have the first autonomous deployment,” he said. “Now it’s where we are we not having autonomous deployments, is kind of the question. It’s happening very rapidly.”
The conference is useful also because it brings together people from the IT and automotive spaces who often saw each other as competitors in the transportation revolution. There’s a growing understanding both sectors have strengths and weaknesses and that the best approach is partnership, Gryc said.