A coming panel discussion, Implications of Fully Autonomous Vehicles and their Impact on San Antonio, will explore how autonomous vehicles will influence the physical and business environment in San Antonio.

Organized by the University of Texas’ McCombs Business School Alumni Network, the panel discussion will take place Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 6-8 p.m. at the Pearl Studio, located at 200 E. Grayson St, Suite 115.

The discussion is open to the public and tickets cost $35. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and two drinks are included with attendance.

The event will launch with remarks from Red McCombs, the billionaire founder of the Red McCombs Automotive Family, co-founder of what became Clear Channel Communications, former owner of the Spurs, and namesake of the McCombs Schools of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. Since McCombs made his initial fortune in the automotive industry, he is likely to have real insight into how the new vehicles will affect the overall market.

The diversity of the panel, however, is likely to yield interesting insights thanks to the speakers’ varied backgrounds.

Panelists for the discussion will include McCombs Business School lecturers Mike Hasler, a former General Motors executive, and Rob Adams, who has co-founded multiple startup investment funds. Cory Hallam, director of the Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE) and faculty member of the Colleges of Business and Engineering at UTSA, will explore his extensive experience with autonomous drones on the panel. Jon-Michael Kowall, assistant vice president of innovation for USAA’s property and casualty insurance business, will describe the impact on the insurance industry.

Generally, industry executives project fewer overall cars, less car ownership, and fewer accidents.

A study from Florida State University on the results of automated vehicles on the built environment found that they are likely to encourage narrower traffic lanes and fewer medians, fewer signs, more drop-off and pick-up areas, and less overall parking. Said changes will affect the physical and economic environment of the city.

“The rise of autonomous vehicles is going to happen more quickly than most people are expecting,” said Andrew Hunter Stanco, co-president of the San Antonio Chapter of the McCombs School and Financial Advisor for Morgan Stanley.

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This event is the first in a coming series of McCombs Business School San Antonio Chapter events that Stanco and the rest of the chapter are putting together, but right now they are focused on launching an insightful panel experience.

“It will augment how people get their cars, how traffic congestion changes, how they get to work. I’m interested in seeing how the different attendees react to some of these things that they’re going to say,” he said. “It think people will be shocked (at) the speed of changes.”

Mitch Hagney

Mitch Hagney is a writer and hydroponic farmer in downtown San Antonio. Hagney is CEO of LocalSprout and president of the Food Policy Council of San Antonio.