Earlier this month, Tuxera travelled to SXSW, or South by South West. For those that don’t know, SXSW is a week-long event and exhibition held annually in Austin, Texas, USA. It brings innovative personas and companies from tech, culture, entertainment, and design to one place to discuss what are the next big things.

This year’s exhibition was packed with content. There were well-known individuals like Adam Savage, the cast of AMC’s series Preacher, plus tech companies like Netflix and Mashable. Despite the event’s original focus on creative content and its distribution, it was hard to miss that automotive and mobility had a big presence this year.

Multiple talks, automotive startup pitching competitions, and discussion panels were presented during the week. One of the key topics of conversation was automotive safety. To that end, influencers, startups, and corporates all had the same vision: “data-driven transportation will drastically reduce the number of road incidents.”

The path toward safer cars varies

To make car travel safer, it was apparent from SXSW that companies are taking a variety of approaches. Some go all-in and develop open-source autonomous driving software. Others are more agile and try to get the most from existing car sensor data to improve safety. Still others are reinventing the in-car user experience to change the way people interact with car systems, ensuring that the driver keeps their eyes on the road. Despite the approach, the majority of projects were focused on safety in one way or another.

SXSW is as diverse geographically as it is topically

The overall experience of SXSW was unconventional as compared to similar events. Typically, everything happens in a single exhibition center, but in Austin, the venue is spread across multiple locations around the city. And this makes sense, as SXSW has various tracks, each with their own focus. Dividing the tracks not just by sector, but also by location creates a completely immersive experience for each track.

But this can also be a bit inconvenient at times. When events happen in one location, it’s not a challenge to just rush to the other end of the convention center. But when you need to order a Ride Austin (there’s no Uber or Lyft available) to get to the other side of the town, missing out becomes a real thing. Especially if the next talk starts right after the first one just ended. For those coming to Austin next year, be sure to keep that in mind when planning your agenda.

Final thoughts

SXSW is not your typical conference. It’s not just about tech, nor culture, nor entertainment. It’s a diverse event that doesn’t set any boundaries. This gives attendees a vast spectrum of choices to decide on their agenda, and what learnings and conversations they are going to have. But don’t just take my word for it. Check out some of the SXSW scene for yourself in this wrap-up we’ve put together.