Why you should care about LA Automobility 2016

The Los Angeles Auto Show is one of the dozen premier International Auto Shows in the world and likely the best in the US. Leading up to this nearly 110-year old event are Press Days where members of the media can see the latest and greatest for the upcoming model year unveiled before the public descends on the Convention Center.

For the past three years, there has been a small conference preceding the Car Show — Connected Car Expo. This has served to showcase the cool new “internet-y” things that late model cars can do. Just weeks prior to the fourth annual event, the organizing committee made the wise decision to merge the Press Days and the Connected Car Expo into a new lead-up event entitled Automobility LA. This three-day event offered sessions on various aspects of the future of mobility — sharing, electric vehicles, artificial intelligence, navigation, and more. In addition, old and new automotive luminaries shared their company’s vision for the future.

So why should you care about LA Automobility 2016? This marks the beginning of the seemingly arranged marriage of the old and new automotive worlds. The Auto Show is still an old guard event where horsepower and trim are featured more than electric or autonomous capabilities. Auto-dealers own the walkways and are clicking away when Kareem, Worthy and “The Great One” make their appearances with the latest models. The gleaming new cars are dusted by the small army of keepers who slip in before and after the media to maintain the mirror-like shine on every hood. And yes, there are a bevvy of (thankfully not just pretty faced) “car girls” perfectly coiffed and outfitted to showcase the stars of this show.

And for the new guard, LA Automobility was a chance to show off what they are doing to move us forward. Among them are the dreamers, the hackers, the geeks and those who might not know a rumbleseat from a Rally Sport. They are gathered here to cheer each other on, or perhaps drag race in the pursuit of the optimization of human mobility which when fully realized will mean lives improved, lives saved and a better planet.

Finding opportunities for these disparate groups to come together, to inspire each other and get to the future faster is a good thing.

Coverage and analysis of LA Automobility Sessions to follow.

Ford’s Journey to the Future — as told by Mark Fields