Ross Douglas is a South African entrepreneur who started his working life making wildlife films and writing environmental stories. Highlights included making one of the first films on free-diving with sharks for National Geographic and writing for Africa Geographic on the proposed “Peace Parks in Mozambique”. He then used his film understanding to collaborate with acclaimed artist William Kentridge to produce “9 Films for Projection”, which was performed in New York’s Central Park, London’s Barbican and Berlin’s Guggenheim Museum. In 2008 he created the FNB Joburg Art Fair, the world’s first art fair for contemporary art from Africa and the most important annual gathering for the African art community.
Understanding impact of global warming on the environment, Ross Douglas wanted to use his media and event skills to encourage sustainable living. As road transport is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions, he decided to create an event that would bring all the new emerging technologies that radically reduce congestion and pollution onto one platform giving rise to Autonomy.
Paris was the city of choice as it is in the heart of the EU, has a strong transport sector and the political will to reduce vehicle emissions. The first edition of Autonomy was held in October 2016 and a year later the second edition secured 220 exhibitors, 10 000 visitors and 50 cities together to change the way we move in cities. Autonomy has sponsoring partnerships with major companies like Renault, Engie, Uber, SNCF, ChargePoint, Allianz, OFO, SNCF and Bolloré, has strategic partnerships with city networks such as C40, Polis, ICLEI and international cities and institutions.
In addition to the annual Autonomy event, Ross Douglas is active as a speaker on New Mobility and has created the Paris Mobility Lab, a collaboration with SNCF to convert the Paris’s Gare de l’Est into a new mobility lab together with partners such as Uber, Nissan, Deloitte and Engie.