June 2019

If ever there was a piece of news that highlighted the pressure and challenges that even the biggest automotive entities face as the industry continues its fast-paced evolution, it’s that of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announcing its hopes (and subsequently dropping the idea) of a merger with Renault.

This was, you sense, more than a regular merger move – one in which two giant companies spruik the ‘synergies’ of combining their businesses and the tremendous cost savings they’ll enjoy in traditional production and manufacturing and the like. Rather, this was about the joining of two industry heavyweights in a bid to tackle the challenges of a radically changing auto landscape – one in which electrification, autonomy, and connectivity are the keywords of the future. Recognising the direction our industry is heading is something of which we all need to be aware.

OUT AND ABOUT

Networking and connecting with organisations that are also involved in the innovation, start-up and technology space remains a core feature of MTAiQ’s work and, and May was another month in with members of the Hub team reached out to expand and strengthen that network.

The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) and Austrade held an event at the beginning of the month called Creating the Future: Opportunities for Queensland Startups. A panel of speakers, including the CEO of UT Creative Enterprise Australia, and Head of Development and Production at Screen Queensland discussed the position of the creative industries, how they benefit the economy and how that sector is the fastest-growing market segment of the Australian economy in terms of its contribution to GDP.

The core of this growth has been the result of ‘the expansion of the internet and new consumption pattern enabling new market opportunities in creative technology’.

The awards bring together Queensland’s most exciting exporters and culminate each October in an Awards Gala at which 16 category winners are honoured and one is crowned the Premier of Queensland’s Exporter of the Year. It’s a prestigious award to win and a great way for a business to raise its profile.

On the future mobility front, MTAiQ was invited along to the celebration of mobility company Lime’s ‘one million rides’ in Brisbane. The electric scooter-sharing business hosted its biggest supporters as well as local organisations and businesses to celebrate its success.

In a similar vein, MTA Queensland met with Bird, another U.S.-based electric scooter sharing company. Bird is looking at the possibility of working with MTA Queensland members for repair and maintenance, as well as storage and charging services for their smart electric machines. We’ll keep you informed.

At the end of the month, MTAiQ travelled west with Lex van Cooten of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) company Immerse Enterprise to present as at the Toowoomba Visiting Entrepreneur Meetup. Lex is a passionate advocate of the possibilities of VR and AR and the ways the technology can change the way we interact with the world. At the event, he presented his vision on how that future might look. Fascinating stuff.

One of the most exciting technological developments in recent times is 5G connectivity. 5G offers some truly remarkable upload and download speeds and you may have recently read about the Oppo Reno 5G smartphone reaching download speeds exceeding 1.9Gbps in a demonstration in Sydney. To put that into perspective, the NBN network offers a top speed of around 100Mbps – that 5G demonstration was 19 times quicker!!

The MTAiQ team was invited to view the technology at Telstra’s 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast, and it is going to be a true game-changer. Superfast connectivity is essential not just for downloading those high-definition movies and TV shows we all love to watch, but for the future of mobility. Vehicles interacting with each other and with infrastructure need to do so at lightning speeds and connectivity at 5G is another step toward advanced and autonomous mobility.

VISITORS

A few special guests made trips to MTA Queensland’s head office during the month to tour the facility, check out the MTAiQ Hub and exchange ideas on innovation. These included visits from representatives of RAA (Royal Automobile Association of South Australia); team members of the INNOV8 Logan virtual innovation hub; and the RACQ, who MTAiQ also met to discuss possible involvement in the RACQ’s excellent Motorfest event.

GOT AN IDEA? LET US KNOW!

Our drive to assist automotive businesses to evolve alongside the greater automotive industry continues to be at the core of our mission. It can be daunting to see and read how much, and how quickly, developments are occurring, and it is an absolute necessity to keep up with these developments as they begin to trickle, and then flood, through to us here in Australia.
MTAiQ, MTA Queensland and MTA Institute are here to help by sharing information, offering training courses, and advocating on members’ behalf.

At MTAiQ, we continue to work on projects specifically aimed at the needs of our Association members. 3D printing, future skilling, digital for small businesses, future technology assessment and development – all are part of our brief.

But we also know that there are some great ideas out there just waiting to be given the right encouragement and backing so they can grow to become a major part of the industry’s transformational journey. The thing is, of course, that we here at MTAiQ have to know about these ideas to be able to help!

So, if you have an idea or the seed of a plan that you believe in and has the ability to improve the industry – in a small of big way – then let us know. Don’t hide it!

As Megan Smith, former Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. under President Barack Obama: “Innovation comes out of great human ingenuity and very personal passions.”

Until next time.