The automotive industry is in the process of a dramatic shift in gears; one that will see software replacing pistons and hydraulics giving way to circuits completely.
This means that the fundamentals of how engines work are changing. As consumers become more aware of conscious consumption and realign their values, manufacturers are forced to accelerate the ongoing switch to eco-friendly electrical vehicles, alternative fuels, and futuristic automotive designs.
In a decade or maybe less, it’s not surprising that the inner workings of a vehicle will be indistinguishable from what we are familiar with now.
It’s a tide that modern-day mechanics have begun riding.
While the industry is in a near-constant state of flux, it’s safe to say that for technical professionals, staying ahead of the latest trends is necessary to remain competitive in the automotive industry of the future.
The eco-friendly future of car building and maintenance
A radical change in thinking with regard to social responsibility, sustainability and eco-friendly practices is driven by the ever-looming presence of climate change and the unconquerable threats it presents.
The modern car buyer is almost acutely aware of the need to be conscious of this when buying a new car. The demands of this shift in thinking weigh heavily on the automotive industry as it forces car manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions by any means possible.
As a result, new cars that are hitting the market cost more (at the moment) and may present more risks to the driver as they may not be as sturdy as their predecessors—the reason being that manufacturers are lowering the weight of new vehicles (as is the most common practice) to meet newly-imposed requirements.
At first glance, it may seem that these types of vehicles may mean more work for the everyday mechanic but then, we must consider whether the vehicles of tomorrow will require traditional expertise?
The green revolution is already demanding the world to rethink how it travels and the mechanics of the future will have to adapt as well.
The car of the future is electric
Vehicle emissions are a primary contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and have been a key area of concern in the fight against global warming.
At the moment, electric vehicles seem to be the most viable solution to creating a more sustainable future. In the past, technology was lacking to produce batteries to power cars that could actually compete with petrol or diesel-fueled vehicles.
That, however, is no longer a concern—with governments pushing for an electric car takeover, vehicle manufacturers are finding themselves in a predicament where they must either invest in the technology or be left behind.
Electric car mechanics have a different skill set, especially given that their maintenance requires a new kind of expertise compared to that required for traditional fossil-fuel burning vehicles.
The mechanics of tomorrow will have to be familiar with software and electronics to meet the demands of vehicle repairs in the near future.
Smart, connected and self-driving cars are inevitable
The digital revolution has already found its way into the automotive industry and the vehicles of tomorrow are already fast-tracking their evolution; from the clunky iron machines of a bygone era to the sleek and smart forerunners of the ADAS age.
Machine learning, AI and the Internet of Things are where the evolution of technology is directed, and the automotive industry is not exempt from this. A few companies are already investing heavily in this inevitable paradigm shift that will change the way people interact with vehicles and how vehicles interact with each other permanently.
It is yet to be seen whether this technology will make accidents obsolete and if repairs will be limited to a self-diagnostic software that can make adjustments in real-time or even in anticipation.
Regardless of the extent of this change, the automotive industry is in for a transformation, requiring the professionals in its periphery to learn new skills and adapt.
Highly unique and specialised vehicles that can only be serviced by their manufacturers
The decline of mature markets and the rise of new competitors in the fold is making growth opportunities scarce for high-volume, high-margin manufacturers.
Though not evident as of yet, it can be predicted that a shift in this business model is imminent, and brands and manufacturers will seek to make their products highly unique in certain aspects to gain a competitive advantage in the industry.
This will not bode well for independent mechanics and smaller businesses because as a consequence, vehicles will require servicing, repairs and part replacements that can only be performed by company technicians and specialised equipment.
Innovation isn’t the adversary—the inability to adapt is
Technology is moving at a rapid pace; with innovators like Tesla in the market, there are no signs that this will slow down.
It may seem that to keep up, new skills and capabilities across technicians in the automotive industry are a must. The modern mechanic should learn and adapt to the new technologies flooding the industry.
There is no reason to fear innovation—the key lies in embracing it, understanding it and being the first to the finish line with your services.