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The Next Mile

Author: Beam Imagination

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Transportation is such an underrated and typically unsexy topic, but you’re wrong. We like whining about traffic and leaving it behind with us at the watercooler, but, in reality, evolving how we move will make us a better species.

I think we’ve reached a tipping point where converging tech is going to let us take the hacksaw to our traditional transportation infrastructure.

We’ll talk to established leaders in transportation, some trail-blazing pioneers and policymakers and pundits who are all leading the charge and looking to innovate how we move – at very least they’re taking a hard, curious and revealing look at what I call the most important issue we can all do something about.

The Next Mile Podcast - presented by Beam Imagination - because the future of how we move could define what types of lives we lead.

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14 Episodes
Sono Motors thinks we need to redesign the car. Not with what the manufacturer wants, but with what the potential buyer's demand. With a mission built around sustainability and transparency, they seek to reimagine the automobile as they know it. With solar integration to cover most of your daily driving, a low price-point, and much, much more, Sono seeks to make a car that this generation wants to own. What we discussed:What are the problems facing car ownership today that are answered by Sono Motors' vision? (4:20)What are some of the game-changing features of your first car, the Sion? (8:29)How will the Sion play into shifting attitudes around vehicles? (12:05)What part of the Sion is powered by plant life? (16:52)What's next for Sono Motors? (19:50)Other resources:Sono Motors Website Sion raises 53 million Euros in crowdfunding Laurin Hahn TwitterUpdate from Season 1: The Ray  See for privacy and opt-out information.
Civil Bikes is connecting Atlanta's past and present with historic tours throughout the city, but you won't find them sightseeing from a double decker bus. Civil Bikes is "street level", with tours being conducted on bikes and on foot. With Nedra Deadwyler at the helm, Civil Bikes is uncovering some of the city's lesser known stories and sharing them with the world so that these histories can continue to live on. In this episode Nedra discusses some of the advantages of conducting tours on bikes and the importance of keeping local histories alive.What we discussed:Nedra's background (1:30)Why are bikes a great form of transportation for local tours? (3:30)What kind of stories does Civil Bikes explore? (7:45)Transportation & Equality (14:20)Other resources:Civil Bikes WebsiteSpin Scooters Launches in Atlanta and partners with Civil BikesMarshall "Major" Taylor See for privacy and opt-out information.
Aerion is one of the leaders in the burgeoning supersonic era ahead of us, and on the heels of their announcement of their new headquarters in Melbourne, Florida we spoke with one of their leaders that is pushing us ahead into a new future. In this episode, Matt Cram, the Chief Commercial Officer of Aerion, talks about their supersonic business jets, sustainable technology, and commitment to the environment. Today, businesses are dictated by speed – be it the operations, decision making, or logistics.As travel faces an unprecedented era of transformation, Aerion holds they key to unlocking a 40 billion industry. This impending Mach 2 revolution could be forged in the fire of this time period.What we discussed:The history of aviation speeds (1:30)The business jet market and supersonic (2:40)How sustainability is at the center of Aerion's business goals (4:30)What is boomless cruise/mach cutoff? (5:35)What are the next steps for delivering supersonic business jets? (9:30)The future of Aerion's business? (13:35)Other resources:Matt Cram on LinkedInAerion Supersonic websiteAerion Partnership with Carbon EngineeringAerion Announces HeadquartersThe Next Mile Season 1: Mach 5 or Bust with Hermeus Hypersonic See for privacy and opt-out information.
A rare moment of widespread global uncertainty has paved the path and proved the point for one industry poised to transform how we move freight across our planet – autonomous trucking. We speak with one of the leading companies in this space, TuSimple, and their head of government and public affairs, Robert Brown. From finding cost and time efficiencies to improving how we connect in a time of need, TuSimple’s robust sensor suite is doing more than just establishing new technology – it’s mending our planet one automated shipment at a time.   On today’s episode, we’ll explore the technology and ethos that make up TuSimple’s vision for bringing autonomy to 18-wheelers. Don’t miss out on this episode of The Next Mile, where we have a conversation about the importance of this game-changing technology to our nation’s infrastructure pipeline.Questions I ask:Why was the autonomous trucking sector so much more appealing than consumer AVs? (01:10)What is the secrete sauce that sets apart the technology being used by TuSimple? (03:00)What are the benefits TuSimple has found so far with truck automation? (6:25)How is TuSimple leveraging partnerships with big logistics companies to prove their position in the marketplace? (7:30)How has the COVID-19 pandemic forced you to reimagine some of the work you are doing? (9:01)How does TuSimple balance the need for a human workforce with automation? (12:57)In this episode, you will learn:Different types of sensors (4:43)How autonomous trucks save time and money (6:30)Where is TuSimple operating routes today (13:05)What regulatory challenges lay ahead (14:59)Connect with Robert and TuSimple:LinkedInTuSimple See for privacy and opt-out information.
Just a little bit north of Atlanta, there’s a city that also works as a sandbox for technology and transportation innovation.On any given day, the Lab, complete with infrastructure to support autonomous driving plays host to everything from autonomous buses to teleoperated scooters as they try to create a city that gives new meaning to live, work, play.  On today’s episode, I am talking about this tech-haven, with my guest, Betsy Plattenburg, who is the executive director of Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners.  Don’t miss out, on Season 2’s first episode of The Next Mile, where we have an interesting conversation about the importance of creating test platforms in the real world for the wave of oncoming change in the transportation landscape.Questions I ask:What is Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners? (01:13)What makes a public testing sandbox an attractive draw for startups and technology companies? (04:00)How does AV technology force us to reconsider the design of the car? (7:58)How does Curiosity Labs latest test with teleoperated scooters show how quickly tech pivots and adapts? (10:01)What are some of the differences we’d expect to see on the roads where testing is being done versus what we’re used to? (11:45)What makes Curiosity Lab unique as a public government-owned entity? (15:30) In this episode, you will learn:Local Motors Olli autonomous bus at the Lab (4:15)The five levels of autonomy (5:55)What Curiosity Lab looks like (11:30)Curiosity Labs many infrastructure partnerships (16:30) Connect with Betsy:LinkedInCuriosity Lab at Peachtree Corners Other mentions:No one at the Wheel: Driverless Cars and the Road of the FutureLVNG Book See for privacy and opt-out information.
Cars have come a long way since they were first conceived.By introducing these kinds of horseless carriages, no longer would people have to hassle and care for the animals that came along with travel.As the idea of driving became more likable to the public and cars became more advanced, their role in society grew. But as cars gained the spotlight, other community infrastructure began to lackluster.On today’s episode, I am talking about the impact of the AVs on our society, with my guest, Samuel Schwartz.Samuel Schwartz has been in the transportation industry since the late 1960s. He started as a cabbie in New York and rose to the ranks of traffic commissioner and the DOT's Chief Engineer for the Big Apple. He popularized the term "gridlock" while pushing New Yorkers to think differently about traffic. At one point, he even toyed with the idea of banning cars altogether in certain red zones. To say the least, he knows a thing or two about traffic and transportation systems as a whole. The years have only honed his focus on how to solve the Rubik's cube of Transportation.So don’t miss out, Episode 6 of The Next Mile, where we have an interesting conversation about the evolution of cars, and how they will impact our future.Questions I ask:How do we make sure that car companies don't steer us in the same decisions that really only help them, but rather use the car for what it should do, which is connect us in a more meaningful way? (06:22)Right now a lot of cars that are coming out on the roadways, newer cars from many companies that we all know, have some level of partial automation. How are those technical elements going to help us? (08:56)Why do you think that citizens should take a more active role and a more serious role in talking about transportation? (11:26)At this point in your career, with a global consultancy, do you feel like countries that are just now starting to put in that infrastructure, are they ahead of the curve or behind the curve of the United States in building for what this new future will look like? (14:00)In "No One at the Wheel” you outline that the car of tomorrow may look very different and it may help a family live a more normal life, where not everyone has to build their day around the availability of a vehicle. Can you talk through some of those scenarios? (27:12)Do you see the average American giving up their personal vehicle? (33:05)In this episode, you will learn:The mistakes we’ve made in the past 100 years, with regards to vehicles. (01:24)How shifting city focus to cars created inequality between public transit and those who could afford car ownership. (04:13)The benefits of AVs. (05:06)The types of pedestrian injuries that we see in this age, and why they have worsened. (10:36) How the population is affected by poor infrastructure maintenance. (12:41)A child’s opinion on Autonomous Vehicles. (16:40)Why AVs are compared to zombies. (31:03)Connect with Sam:LinkedInSam Schwartz EngineeringGridlock SamBooks mentioned:Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of CarsNo one at the Wheel: Driverless Cars and the Road of the Future See for privacy and opt-out information.
Every time you get behind the wheel, do you know where you’re headed to next? When was the last time you stopped to smell the roses, or stopped at the pop-up apple stand on the side of the road? With the sudden resurge of “van life” in America, the idyllic dream of taking life into your own hands, living on a continuous adventure, and taking beautiful Instagram pictures along the way is becoming the reality of more and more people—especially Millennials. On today’s episode, I talk with David Clapper, co-founder and CEO of SCAMPer Van. He knows a thing or two about the wonders of exploring the open road in a van, and he takes us with him on this journey throughout our discussion. So, listen in and imagine where this road could take you. Some Questions I Ask: What’s the origin of sCAMPer Van? (1:51)Is there something uniquely American about van life? (9:01)Can van life exist in a world with the next generation of cars? (19:07)In This Episode, You Will Learn: How “van life” began. (4:38)How van life is becoming more attainable for individuals and families of all ages. (10:10)How van life allows for spontaneity unlike other travel methods. (10:58)What’s different about a sCAMPer Van and an RV. (21:25)Resources: sCAMPer Van See for privacy and opt-out information.
Once a month The Next Mile podcast (in under 5 minutes) talks about some of the biggest disruptions in the transportation industry in our Monthly Milepost episode. This month we discuss news from:1. Ford VW Nissan-Renault ARGO AI and WayBig, traditional automakers partner with each other and tech companies in artificial intelligence and autonomous assistance to cut through the heavy R&D needed for them to survive.2. UPS and UPS Flight ForwardUPS pushes ahead on commercial drone deliveries3. Virgin Hyperloop One and Elon MuskThe annual hyperloop pod competition kicked off and delivered some exciting results as the entire globe shifts their attention to the promise of the tech.4. Molon Labe Designs and the FAAMiddle seats sucking? No longer as one design firm looks to radically rethink the typically undesirable middle seat.5. NASA SpaceX and (even) NickelodeonSpace exploration requires increased cooperation and participation from commercial entities looking to break into the next frontier of human exploration. See for privacy and opt-out information.
When we think of transportation, cars are probably one of the first things we think of.It’s a mode of transportation we see, if not use, on a daily basis.These days, the existence of cars is hard to escape,And this comes as no surprise.They've been a part of society for over a century and they’re not going anywhere soon.On today’s episode, Jeff and I are going to take a journey through time to see how we arrived at today’s modern automobile. Jeff Lane is the Director of the Lane Motor Museum, in Nashville, Tennessee. He has been a car enthusiast ever since he was a kid. He began restoring his first car—a 1955 MG TF—when he was a teen. His personal collection was the donation that began the foundation. Jeff not only knows a lot of things about cars, but he has some great insight into the many ways they have been designed and produced throughout history.So listen to Episode 4 of The Next Mile, to understand how people developed cars that worked for the area and the time period that they were in, and where we’re headed in the future. Questions I ask:Can you tell me about some of your favorite cars in the collection? (07:31)Can we talk about the Dymaxion? (14:48)Do you feel like the collection that you guys have, captures perfectly in a bottle what it was like to try to design cars when there were no standards? (20:20)Do you guys have any vehicles that were designed specifically for a certain type of person? (24:29)What does it take to get into your collection? (33:39)In this episode, you will learn:The type of cars exhibited at the Lane Motor Museum (02:15)How Jeff became a car enthusiast. (03:12)What an amphibious car is. (10:40)How the road size is an impediment to making bigger cars. (14:00)Why the flying cars didn’t „take off” (25:50)Resources:Lane Motor Museum WebsiteFacebook See for privacy and opt-out information.
Placing one foot in front of the other can take us pretty far.Before we had cars, before getting from Point A to Point B could be done conveniently behind a wheel, a lot of people walked.As more convenient modes of transportation become readily available, walking becomes more and more obsolete.We've created an infrastructure that is no longer conducive to foot travel, forcing people off the sidewalks and into various other modes of transportation.But is all this for the better?What do we lose when we turn our backs to the original form of transportation?On today’s episode, we’re talking about urbanism and its relationship to transportation, with The ATL Urbanist, Darin Givens. He’s the co-founder of the urbanism advocacy group, ThreadATL, based here in Atlanta. He shares his thoughts on how we could improve Atlanta’s roads and what are the main obstacles in doing that.So, listen in, and learn how step-by-step, urbanism advocacy can actually change us for the better.Questions I asked:What is an Urbanist? (05:55)What got you interested in urbanism in the first place? (08:05)Are there any people, internationally or globally, that are achieving the standards that you feel like we need to have as a society? (15:50)Why does opening up new lanes does not solve everything? (24:15)Who is the most important voice in the journey that’s ahead of us, that’s redefining how we travel and how we move? (30:20)In this episode, you will learn:What ThreadATL is. (02:15)How Darin came up with an amateur urbanist theory according to which the design of our roads brings the worst in people. (10:00)What the biggest obstacle is on making the right design changes. (13:20)What Atlanta could learn from New York City. (16:00)How parking decks negatively influence traffic into the city. (21:35)How politicians should approach transportation. (31:55)Connect with Darin:LinkedInTwitterMail: atlurbanist@gmail.comOther resources:ThreadATL websiteTumblr See for privacy and opt-out information.
Have you ever taken a look at your carbon footprint or taken into consideration how your transportation methods affect the world around you?That’s one of the many reasons why electric and autonomous vehicle development, innovation, and implementation is so important today.There’s a non-profit foundation called The Ray, which ultimately seeks to bring together companies, policymakers, and people on the ground to drive forward innovation in the realm of advanced mobility. So many companies are working toward a better future for transportation, but the work being done at The Ray is real, tangible, and on the ground today.Advanced mobility will save lives and reduce negative environmental impacts. Still, the idea of AVs really scare the general public.That’s why on today’s episode of The Next Mile, I talk with Allie Kelly, Executive Director of The Ray. She shares information about how the foundation is tangibly working toward reducing waste, increasing productivity, and transforming the everyday transportation experience for Americans.So, listen in to learn more about how today’s innovative technologies are changing the world as we know it.Questions I Asked: Tell us how The Ray began. (06:05)What are your favorite projects that The Ray has worked on? (10:00)How do The Ray’s innovations help society and the earth? (22:50)When do you see innovation becoming everyday technology for the public? (25:00)What conversations are you having with policy-makers to make innovation possible? (33:00)What do you think is the toughest debate that we have around reshaping mobility? (34:50)In This Episode, You Will Learn: How The Ray is impacting innovation today. (01:20)How The Ray aims to reduce waste and increase productivity on the roads. (10:05)How Wattway uses roads to harvest solar energy to produce energy. (16:10)How The Ray is creating durable, crack-resistant roads that reduce the height of the sound barrier. (18:10)How The Ray’s innovations are working toward a safer driving experience. (23:30)How The Ray’s prototype uses connectivity technology to gather data directly from the literal road. (28:55)Why America needs an intentional psychological shift to accept autonomous vehicles. (34:50)What industries will be affected by the implementation of AV into society. (37:10)Connect with Allie Kelly: LinkedInThe Ray: Allie KellyTwitterOther Resources: The RayWattway See for privacy and opt-out information.
We talk with Hermeus CEO AJ Piplica about his vision for bringing Mach 5 high-speed travel to the masses and how he took the captain's seat as we reimagine the future of transportation. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Transportation is an intensely complex topic that we like to leave behind at the watercooler as we vent about our commutes, but we can do something about the matter at hand. Solving the Rubik's cube of travel can shape healthier lives, more connected communities and repair the chaos we've created in the world. How do I know? Well, a car accident forced me to re-evaluate how I was moving around and helped me reshape a family and neighborhood dynamic that left me happier.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
Transportation  is such an underrated and typically unsexy topic, but you’re wrong. We like whining about traffic and leaving it behind with us at the watercooler, but, in reality, evolving how we move will make us a better species. The Next Mile Podcast - presented by Beam Imagination - because the future of how we move could define what types of lives we lead. Available on your favourite podcast player. See for privacy and opt-out information.
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