June, 2018

In 2017, MTA Queensland established the Carmageddon symposiums – a forum designed to highlight the innovations and developments within the automotive industry as well as the opportunities that such dramatic changes inevitably uncover. The symposiums were a great success and not only opened many eyes to the major disruptions already underway, but shone a light on the importance of acknowledging and embracing those disruptions.

Leading directly on from this focus on change, and after much discussion and consultation, MTA Queensland established the MTAiQ Innovation Hub.

The first of its kind in Australia, the MTAiQ Hub focuses solely on the automotive market, and its role is to bring together mentors, investors, coaches, commercial partners and industry experts to collaborate with both start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as established businesses looking to adapt to the changing industry landscape.

It offers a high-tech home for fledgling businesses. High-speed internet access, first-class presentation and office facilities, as well as a state-of-the-art training workshop, are all available to hub clients, as is the expertise of MTA Queensland personnel.

The importance of MTAiQ cannot be emphasised enough. MTA Queensland’s mission throughout its long history has been to advance and promote ideas that are in the best interests of its members and the industry, and with technological advancements so clearly forcing the industry to evolve into something new, it is vital that the Association be ‘in the mix’ as that evolution takes place. MTAiQ allows us to do just that, and offering a space for people to come together and develop their concepts and business ideas, perhaps to a point where they enter the industry mainstream, is at the core of MTAiQ’s brief.

Since it was established at the beginning of this year, MTAiQ has got off to a flying start, offering support and guidance to a number of start-ups that are involved in everything from 3D printing to robotics, workshop-to-customer software development to tyre retail innovation, car sharing to flying cars.

But offering the expertise of MTA Queensland staff and a high-tech space from which these fledgling businesses can work is only part of what we do. Developing contacts and creating programs with government, academia and industry is an equally important strand of our work and in that space too it has been a busy few months. Partnerships, agreements and networks are being regularly developed and in the past few months MTA Queensland and MTAiQ have become partners in the Ipswich and West Moreton Advance Regional Innovation Program (ARIP), which is developing innovation and entrepreneurial activities across the Ipswich and West Moreton region; have met with CSIRO, which is researching ways to supply fuel cell vehicles with low-emissions hydrogen sourced from Australia; have agreed to collaborate with Local Motors, a technology company that designs, builds and sells vehicular products through micro-manufacturing and Advanced 3D printing; and have met for discussions with academic institutions on a range of issues including manufacturing, digital skills, and an emerging Skills and Knowledge Precinct concept.

Meetings and discussions too numerous to mention, surrounding subjects as diverse as the use of cloud platforms, data analytics and Artificial Intelligence, are also a regularly on our agenda.

Our leadership in the automotive innovation space has also seen our CEO, Dr Brett Dale, invited to speak at the upcoming Mumbrella Automotive Marketing Summit at a session entitled Driving into the future: Marketing autonomous vehicles; and he is also representing MTA Queensland on the newly-established Queensland Electric Vehicle Council (QEVC), whose responsibilities include advising on the development of legislation, strategies standards and technology relevant to electric vehicle adoption.

In just the past month, MTA Queensland and MTAiQ played a major sponsorship role at the Myriad 2018 innovation and start-up festival held at the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane. At the festival we hosted MTAiQ clients who were able to present their skills, ideas and concepts to a heavyweight mix of business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors. Brett also presented as a keynote speaker on the subject of future mobility and was involved in a subsequent robust roundtable discussion on flying cars with Steve Baxter, Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur; Kellie Nuttall, global mobility expert from Deloitte; and Professor Michael Milford from QUT’s Science and Engineering faculty.

For all of us here at MTAiQ, working with enthusiastic entrepreneurs and start-ups, as well as the creative minds in the government, business, academic and investment communities that flow around them is, frankly, an exciting and exhilarating space to be and it gives us great confidence that Queensland, and Australia, is well placed to take advantage of the new and developing industry landscape.

A CHANGING LANDSCAPE

So how much change is going on? It is mind-boggling!

News of technological developments, and the ways in which that technology can be used, arrives at breakneck speed and barely a day goes by without new concepts and programs being announced that will affect the automotive industry. This very edition of Motor Trader is reflective of that change, with the next few pages comprising a new section devoted to innovation news. These include stories on peer-to-peer car sharing, electric trucks, radar and hazard safety technology, hybrid engines and wireless charging amongst many others. It’s indicative of the pace and weight of change.

CONCEPT AND IDEA SUBMISSION

It is important to note that MTAiQ is open to considering concepts from anyone. Great ideas are not exclusive to tech-savvy youngsters and, truth be told, it is often those who have real experience in an industry that can see the opportunities that lie within. There is no one who knows the problems and frustrations of an industry better than those who work in it – and that means you. Every automotive industry sector – mechanical, auto electrical, paint and panel, sales, retail etc, is filled with smart and knowledgeable people, and if you have a solution to a problem, or an idea you think could make a difference to you, your business and your industry, then we would like to hear about it at MTAiQ. We can help develop and nurture that idea into something that might be a game-changer.

It’s simple to get in touch. Just click on this link https://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. We can’t promise your idea will be the next Tesla, but you never know!

FINALLY

As General Manager Innovation for MTA Queensland, I will do my best to keep you regularly informed of the progress and developments the Association makes through MTAiQ and the wider innovation landscape. With that in mind, I encourage every MTA Queensland member to keep an eye out for the Industry Bulletin that is emailed to you each Thursday – it includes a section that summarises some of the work we are doing – and visit the MTAiQ website at https://www.mtaiq.com.au/ which, as well as carrying news items and information about us, has a calendar of events which, if you are interested in learning more about the technology and ideas behind the direction our industry is taking, you may wish to attend (https://www.mtaiq.com.au/events/).

I’ll also be a regular presence in the pages of Motor Trader, where I will update you on our work and comment on some of the amazing developments that our happening across the automotive world.

I’ll end with a quote from noted American engineer Dean Kamen, whose many inventions include the Segway mobility device: “Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Until next month..