The past two decades have seen a massive shakeup occur in Australia’s automotive industry. Heavy weight manufacturers have moved offshore and automotive technologies are moving in a direction we could never have predicted decades ago. Self-driving vehicles, ride sharing services, car timeshares, and the ever-present issue of climate change have changed the way we commute.
Despite cars getting lighter, faster, more economical and more luxurious, many automotive experts believe the best is yet to come. So what does this mean for the future of the automotive industry in Australia?
ACES up their sleeve
We are at a critical crossroad in automotive innovation. Governments and traditional car manufacturers are working toward the next big thing: ACES — Autonomous; Connected; Electric; and Shared with a mobility of varying sizes, shapes and versatility.
Autonomous: Self-driving cars are said to spur the beginning of the passenger economy which is estimated to be worth $7 trillion by 2050. It is expected that removing human error from the equation will greatly reduce motor vehicle accidents and save 585,000 lives over a 10-year period. This will also reduce public expenditure related with the cost of emergency services responding to accidents.
Connected: Connectivity is already being utilised in high end vehicles but it is expected to become a standard feature in low-end models from as early as 2020. Connectivity can help with vehicle diagnostics and analysis, infotainment, as well as real time traffic updates and dynamic routing.
Electric: The days of petrol and diesel cars are numbered. Hybrid and electric car sales have been steadily climbing for years now, and as the technology improves and prices drop it's expected the uptake will spike dramatically.
Shared: Ride sharing services like Uber, DiDi, and Ola have already made a splash, particularly in urban areas. People have traded the high cost of car ownership for easy to use and relatively cheap ride-sharing apps. Timeshare cars are also on the rise with multiple people owning and sharing the same vehicle. Large manufacturers such as Ford, Volkswagon, and GM have recognised the significance of ride-sharing apps and have made significant investments in startups. It is expected that ride sharing will make up 26 per cent of global miles travelled by 2026, up from four per cent now.
Preparing for the revolution
The Australian Government has seen the potential of the changing face of the automotive industry and are working to train up a highly-skilled workforce to lead the revolution. Grants have been set aside to train automotive engineers and set up automotive innovation labs to test new automotive technologies and products.
According to TAFE Queensland Light Automotive Business Manager Shawn O’Sullivan, training providers like TAFE Queensland are already preparing apprentices and businesses for these emerging technologies.
“Our training has been developed to meet the needs of industry, now and into the future by embracing the use of new electronic resources and digital technologies," said Shawn.
“We strive to make apprentices think about what is to come and how they can develop themselves to be ready for the future.”
Want to be part of the revolution? TAFE Queensland offers a comprehensive range of automotive courses, from pre-apprenticeship programs through to apprenticeship and post-trade specialisations.