8:30 am, I arrive at the Taipei International Convention Center. My third day of work, my fifth day in Taiwan, and my first time riding the MRT alone. Here I am at Computex, the leading global ICT and IoT convention. I came to Taipei from California to work as a Global Business Development Intern at VIA Technologies Inc. In a city I’ve never been to before, surrounded by a language I don’t speak, working in a fast-paced industry that is constantly evolving, I clearly have a lot to learn. And Computex is the perfect place embark on this journey of learning.
On my first day of work, I sat down with Richard Brown, the VP of International Marketing at VIA. I got the general company overview that you would expect for your first day introduction. We talked about the future of VIA and my role at the company, both of which revolve around the automotive industry and mobility. Self-driving vehicles are all the buzz nowadays, and residing near Silicon Valley, I am quite familiar with Google and Tesla’s attempts (and mishaps) in this field. Wide-eyed, I listened to Richard talk about AI, new automotive technologies, and other attempts at driverless vehicles. In only ten years from now, it might just be that humans will not need to drive at all, and all transportation will be completely autonomous! I felt invigorated. I am here working on the future.
InnoVEX, one of the feature events of Computex, hosts hundreds of startups from all around the world to showcase their unique innovations, and I was fortunate enough to be there. Specifically focusing on automotive and mobility, I attended the Audi Innovation Award. Audi is one of the many companies working on technology to bring us into the new age of mobility. This was a full day event, featuring guest speakers from industry leaders including NVIDIA and Microsoft, nine startup pitches, and discussions about the future of mobility. It was an amazing opportunity to gather insights about the industry and gain a deeper understanding of the existing technologies and progress already being made. Truly an incredible experience.
So, then, what is the future of mobility? In many other industries, we often think of technological development as a competition: the space race, the arms race, or the technology gap between different regions of the world. Mobility, though, is different. It is about cooperation. Connectivity. Global networks. When you look down on the earth from an airplane, there are no borders, it is just one earth, one place. We are all connected, and it is the goal of the emerging mobility industry to emulate this.
Another hot topic of discussion was smart cities in relation to mobility. Along with the intricate IoT network required to develop smart cities, planning is also essential. Infrastructure, architecture, and government organization are all key. Smart cities need smart governments. Technology is continually advancing, but that does not mean much if it cannot be implemented. Government regulation can be a huge roadblock in the path toward autonomous vehicles and smart cities. For example, China’s government has taken initiative to provide support for urban planning and development, helping to advance smart cities and mobility. On the other hand, in the United States, both at the federal level and the state level, there are numerous regulations and limitations that hinder the development of self-driving cars and other mobility technologies. That is why global connectivity is so important. Rather than competing, countries can learn from each other and develop technology together, to more quickly advance mobility. The future of mobility involves integration, between the public and private sectors, and between different regions of the world.
The mobility industry is an amazing place to be right now. From dash cams to holographic augmented reality windshield displays to driverless cars, the industry constantly sees new exciting innovations and technologies. One of the panelists at the Audi event said that the changes we will see in the next 10 years in the automotive industry are going to bigger than changes in the past 100 years. The industry is unpredictable, and we really don’t know what will happen next, but that’s what makes it so exciting.
I am grateful to be in Taipei and working in such an interesting industry at such an exhilarating time, and look forward to learning more and more throughout the rest of my summer here.
Written by Bria Rosenberg, Intern at VIA Technologies, Inc.