The pace of innovation never slows down and in this edition’s Auto Innovation News section, you’ll find stories on subjects as varied as self-driving racing cars and autonomous robots, all-electric trucks, government investment in self-driving projects, wheels that turn into tracks . . . and much more.
If you follow such developments, you’ll know the speed of change is only increasing, and MTA Queensland and MTAiQ continue to play a leadership role in making that change one that our industry can adjust to and engage with through our connections with government, business and other organisations, and through the support of start-up ventures.
Examples of the Association’s role include our involvement in a number of important projects, including working with the Department of Transport and Main Roads on the Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative (CAVI) that is currently the country’s largest on-road testing trial of cooperative vehicles and infrastructure with around 500 private and fleet vehicles involved. MTA Queensland is helping in the retro-fitting of vehicles that will be adapted to include vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
Another project under discussion is the use of autonomous shuttles between an emerging Skills and Knowledge precinct at Brisbane Technology Park and nearby retail centres. Talks revolve around the use of the SAGE Automation Olli autonomous shuttle system as the best solution and those discussions are moving forward well.
Projects like these confirm that radical change is inevitable, and being a part of them is important not just because of the inevitability of change but because no one idea or project, on its own, will provide society’s future mobility solution. Encouraging and being a part of programs that advance an integrated solution – one that encompasses autonomous, electric, and connected technology across cars, bikes, buses and even infrastructure – is the most logical way forward and MTA Queensland and MTAiQ, and indeed the MTA Institute which continues to be at the forefront of developing training programs designed to meet these technological advances, will continue to forge links that allow us to play an integral role in this space.
One other technological leap that may well play a role in this idea of an integrated mobility solution is the flying car.
Already, companies such as Uber are planning flying taxi services, so while the concept may seem like science fiction, there are smart and influential businesses, with deep pockets and plenty of enthusiasm, who are working to make them a reality.
Here in Queensland, the development of the Pegasus Flying Car concept by MTAiQ client NXG3N Robotics continues to move at a clip.
Pegasus made its public debut at the recent Myriad technology and innovation expo in Brisbane, and while the concept was shown in stripped-down form, it attracted plenty of attention. In recent weeks the project team have begun to receive the components – including battery packs, motors, speed and flight controllers – to move the project to the next stage. Design alterations aimed at making Pegasus lighter and safer continue also, and within the next few weeks much of what has been on the drawing board will become a reality.
The MTAiQ Innovation Hub, the first automotive-focused hub in Australia, is designed to bring together experienced mentors, investors, and industry experts to work with start-ups and entrepreneurs, as well as established businesses looking to adapt to the changing industry landscape.
It has already provided a much-needed boost and starting point for start-ups involved in tyre retail, software development, 3D printing and, of course, flying car development, and it is about to become the base for some new start-up clients who are developing some pretty exciting projects. Stay tuned for more information on them in upcoming communications.
It is important to stress that MTAiQ could be helping you to kickstart your ambitions too. We’re keen to hear about automotive-related ideas and concepts that could make a difference to the industry or the consumer, and we’re here to help.
It’s simple to get in touch. Just click on this link www.mtaiq.com.au/submit-ideas/, fill in the submission form, and we’ll be in touch within two business days about what will happen next.
A quick word on technology and innovation events that will be happening over the next few months. There are more and more of these taking place – more evidence of the changing landscape – and MTA Queensland will be present at many of them. In particular, our CEO, Dr Brett Dale, will be a keynote speaker at the Autonomous Vehicles Summit that is taking place in Sydney at the end of this month where he will discuss the topic, An Industry Perspective on the Readiness and Capacity for Autonomous Vehicles in Australia. Brett will also be a speaker at the upcoming Mumbrella Automotive Marketing Summit, at a session entitled Driving into the future: Marketing autonomous vehicles.
Also on the calendar is the Something Digital event in Brisbane on 1 November which will focus on the digital economy and involve all manner of folk – from start-ups to big firms and everyone in between. While this may not be strictly an automotive event, the ability to understand and embrace the digital landscape is as important to auto businesses as any other.
The third big event to make a note of also happens in November, and that is the Electric Vehicle Expo & Convention on 9-10 November at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Over its two days, the Expo will provide information and hold discussions on government initiatives and requirements, manufacturing and the trade sector, and will also offer participants not only the chance to discover just how far the electric vehicle sector has come but also network with those in the industry. There is no doubt that electric vehicles will be a big part of future mobility, so it may be worthwhile getting along to the expo if you can.
As I mentioned in my last column, I encourage every MTA Queensland member to read the Industry Bulletin that is sent each Thursday as it includes information and news on the innovation space and the work of MTA Queensland and MTAiQ. You can also visit the MTAiQ website at www.mtaiq.com.au for more news and to find a calendar which details the many technology events that are now a regular part of the industry landscape, including those mentioned above. I’ll also be back with more in next month’s edition of Motor Trader.
In the meantime, it might be worth pondering this thought from writer Stewart Brand, “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.”
Until next month.