Speeding ahead: The future of the automotive industry
In just 100 years we’ve transitioned from streets bustling with horse-drawn carriages, to cars powered by batteries, connected to our phones and driving themselves. The speed of change in the automotive industry has been phenomenal, but what does the future of the industry spell for the humble car, competitive manufacturer and curious automotive engineer?
As a specialist automotive engineering recruitment agency, RTRS is always ahead of the automotive trends, ready to provide automotive businesses with the talent they’ll need, and talent with the challenging positions they’ll want, to be successful. Armed with that knowledge, we’ve pulled together some of the futuristic trends set to hit the industry.
Electric cars charging ahead
With UK government plans for at least half of new cars to be ultra-low emission by 2030, and all new homes to come with EV charging points as standard, the Road to Zero Strategy spells a busy future for the sector.
Electric vehicles aren’t new. Last year over one million were sold globally, bringing the total on the road to three million. But, with an expectation to increase this to 125 million by 2030, mechanical, chemical, electrical and other engineers will be working hard to advance battery technology, safety and thermal management drastically.
Also, on the UK government’s agenda is reducing carbon emission levels by 80% by 2050. While the increase in electric vehicles and ban on all new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 will help, more work will be needed to reach this ambitious target.
Automotive engineers will dedicate a lot of time to reducing the emissions involved in the production of electric vehicles, advancing the 3D printing of cars (thus decreasing plastic use) and driving the cost of eco-friendly vehicles down, to encourage consumers and businesses to scrap their fuel-guzzlers.
Much of the technological advancements in the automotive industry have focused on making cars safer, more environmentally friendly and easier to use. We predict the focus to shift over to user experience, personalising the vehicle experience through connected technology, such as the Internet of Things (IoT).
Internet connectivity, ambient temperatures, self-shading glass, automatic fuel payments and virtual personal assistants will all make an appearance in the not-so-distant future. Meanwhile, advancements in V2X (vehicle-to-everything communications) will improve road safety, traffic congestion and energy efficiency.
With the IoT making its way over to the automotive-side, insurance companies are increasingly using the technology, alongside sensors, global positioning and real-time data, to generate insurance quotes to personalised precision.
As connectivity advances and becomes cheaper, it is hoped that insurance costs are driven down, and driving standards are driven up.
Speaking of driving standards, safety is always at the forefront of the minds of automotive engineers. There were 1,795 reported road deaths in Great Britain in 2017 and 24,831 serious injuries - numbers that are still too high.
Advancing sensor technology and its connectivity with AI; improving knowledge of speed, traction and acceleration in different circumstances; and the use of virtual reality testing software, will be top of the job description for many engineering job candidates.
We couldn’t write an article about the future of the automotive industry without mentioning autonomous vehicles. With the UK autonomous vehicle industry estimated to be worth £28 billion in the next 17 years, there will be plenty of jobs and work for engineers in this sector. Testing, developing and addressing safety concerns will see the commercial and personal use of the vehicles happen very soon, while delivery pods are already treading the streets in Milton Keynes - transforming the future of cargo delivery.
Key cities and companies leading the change are Volvo in London, Oxbotica in Oxford, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors in Coventry, Nissan in London and Transport Systems Catapult in Milton Keynes.
How to handle the change
The future of the industry is exciting, promising and reassuring for any automotive engineering candidate. While the skillset in demand will veer slightly more towards the digital end of engineering, there will be a call for engineers that can combine this with experienced high-production skills. This is a unique opportunity for engineering candidates in London, Birmingham, Glasgow and beyond, to fuel the change of the industry towards innovation, creativity and customer experience.