When you imagine the future, do you imagine flying cars, super-fast band and implanted devices? Considering the speed of evolution of technologies, we could get there very soon. If the Internet of Things already characterizes a growing number of everyday objects, if we have the ability to make payments without using credit cards physically and if by now the sharing mentality allows us to share practically anything, there is no doubt that the next steps will lead us to even more drastic changes.
However, among all of them, there is a particular sector that is experiencing an unprecedented revolution: the automotive sector. For some time now we have been thinking of sustainable and electric cars, self-driving cars, cars available to everyone for urban mobility. Governments are working to promote the development of new generation cars in compliance with environmental standards, and the same is being done by car manufacturers. The sector is booming. But what are the repercussions for business, for society, and above all for employment?
According to the latest report on e-mobility by Modis, a technology consultancy company which operates in various fields of innovation, including the automotive industry, electric mobility was a reflection that affected a quarter of companies in the sector just three years ago. Today, however, this is a strategic experiment that will characterize 65% of the sector over the next three years. There are even those who theorize that within ten years at most, the roads will be traveled mainly by self-driving vehicles. And rather than owned, people will prefer to use them in pools, riding the wave of today's car sharing.
In short, what lies ahead is a revolution that will affect everyone, not just the people in the industry. Are we ready to embrace this change? From a business point of view, it would seem so: for a long time the big names in the automotive sector have set their sights on the potential of the electric car, and are working to develop ever more efficient and mechanically sustainable ones. Self driving, on the other hand, is still a question mark (there are examples of ethical dilemmas that still give manufacturers some headaches), but it is among the priorities of business development. The direction is clear and the resources that need to be put in place are so too: we can safely say that in the near future everything will be played on the acquisition of the right resources and skills.
E-mobility will definitely have a disruptive impact in the future: companies will have to put resources into research and innovation with a focus on data security and V2X connectivity
With the advent of self-driving and electric cars, the new frontiers will be sustained, more than on mechanics, on the acquisition of new technologies and on the development of the necessary software to allow the cars to become more and more not only means of transport, but also an opportunity to spend time on entertainment (no longer having to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road). According to Dario Conigliaro, Technical Manager of Modis, “in the future the car will be a multi-purpose environment that will allow optimization of time management while on the move, to allow the user to study or work: we could call it "Intelligent mobile environment" “.
According to Modis, these new professions require skills that are rare today, which the market is ready to exploit. New professionals will be needed, in particular app developers and artificial intelligence specialists to allow the creation of an entire infotainment offer (audio, communications, entertainment services and satellite navigation) within the passenger compartment. And of course computer security experts will also be needed, due to the large amount of data that we will send by car (which will be constantly connected to the network). According to industry insiders, software will be the driving force behind the largest revenue stream. "Surely e-mobility will have a disruptive impact in the future, companies will have to put resources into research and innovation with a focus on data security and V2X connectivity (between vehicles and the surrounding reality, ed.)," Conigliaro adds.
Therefore more and more car manufacturers will have to start strategic partnerships with startups and service providers to complete the offer of the transport experience. The example of Modis – that thanks to its experience as a partner in research and development has identified the technological challenges of the sector and the implications on the new professions as a consequence- is going precisely in this direction: “At the moment, Modis is involved in several R&D projects in the sector, one of these is TEINVEIN which, in collaboration with other partner companies and thanks to the co-financing of the Lombardy Region, will allow the development of innovative technologies in the field of self-driving, on-board sensors, V2X connectivity and fleet management for car sharing”, the manager says.
Just in Europe, the change in production processes should lead to the creation of over 2 million jobs, compared to an extinction of about 120,000 jobs
The competition to win the most competent figures in this sense (which are still scarce today) will be increasingly strong: universities are not yet ready to train specialized professionals in these sectors (artificial intelligence, for example, is not a part essential of engineering courses, reports Modis), and on the other hand companies do not yet have the ability to totally develop in-house the skills they need.
For those who want to try their hand at studying these new professions, the prize is therefore guaranteed: a young person specialized in computer engineering, a developer or a robotics expert will find work in no time at all.
The impact of the automotive evolution on the world of work is therefore noteworthy: just in Europe, the change in production processes should lead to the creation of over 2 million jobs. The turnover of skills and labor, however, will see the extinction of about 120,000 jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector (the production of electronic components saves a good 40% on labor). Not only that: in addition to IT developers, training for specialized mechanics who can solve electric motor failures will become more and more important: a replacement on all fronts and a challenge not only for companies, but also for individual workers.
Which and how many will be the frontiers of development is still difficult to say. But certainly, with 1.2 million electric cars sold in the world in 2017 (up 57% compared to 2016) and a value of self-driving that could reach 54 billion dollars by the end of 2019, the prospects are very positive. And this is also true for Italy, which despite suffering a chronic delay when it comes to innovation, is still increasing sales of electric cars and installing a greater number of charging stations on the national territory. It will also be only the beginning. But if we consider that just a few days ago Elon Musk announced that one of his Tesla models will really fly, the future we have in mind could really be closer than it seems.