2017 Silicon Valley Reinvents the Wheel Recap

The seventh annual Silicon Valley Reinvents the Wheel presented by Western Automotive Journalists and The Autotech Council was held at the Computer History Museum on Monday October 9th, 2017.

Since its inception the program has shape-shifted location, directions, format and style, improving with each year, but the focus has remained on illuminating the intersection of the auto industry and Silicon Valley’s technology.

With more than 300 people attending, the Museum’s main hall was completely packed. If the current presentation was not of interest there were 40 plus displays of current and upcoming technologies on display in adjoining room—the Autotech Council’s Science Fair. Products from companies ranging from two people up to multi-billion dollar concerns offered a glimpse of technology trends that will be found in our next vehicles.

Outside, the assembled variety of cars showcased everything from Waymo’s Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid-based autonomous technology to GM Maven’s new approach to the gig economy, offering short-term rentals of Bolt EVs for those engaging in work for the Lyfts and Grubhubs of the world. Joining these two were examples of some of the latest on-road tech from Toyota and Kia, start-ups like Autonomous Stuff, Eyeris and Reviver, and established technology companies like Intel and Velodyne.

Back in the Main Hall, the morning sessions of Silicon Valley Reinvest the Wheel were kicked off by quick overviews by CNET’s Brian Cooley and Silicon Valley Mobility’s Sven Beiker. They both talked about the two industries (tech and auto) being at tipping
points where connectivity, autonomy and electric cars are “for real.” Beiker noted that “we’re still in the early days” even though much is happening and observed that Silicon Valley’s leadership in technology development is being challenged as an exodus is taking place where technology demonstrations are increasingly taking place in other locales—from London to Chandler, Arizona.

Other morning panels featured an update from Tesla challenger Lucid Motors, leading EV infrastructure  company Chargepoint, electronics recycler IT Asset Partners and technology innovators Autonomous Stuff, Prospect SV and Motivo Engineering. The morning ended with Liz Kerton from the Autotech Council introducing top startups and giving them a chance to present their ideas before the group.

The afternoon session kicked off a brief presentation from audio innovator Techtonic. They were followed by a keynote from Danny Stillion of IDEO, who talked about design ideas for the “new era of mobility.” He was followed by a panel on “Sharing Your Mobility” from Ridecell and General Motor’s Maven.

The day wrapped with panels from:

  • University speakers from Carnegie Melon, Academy of Art and Udacity talking about how their students are planning to execute future mobility,
  • Infrastructure challenges from the move to autonomous cars facing facing states and cities
  • The future direction of sensor technology from MetaWave, AEye and Velodyne,
  • Top automotive suppliers Delphi, Continental and Intel talking about the direction they see the industry heading
  • Ford and Kia laying out their view of future technology.