Monday, 13 March 2017 15:38

"Codies will be the new tradies" was just one of the many predictions for the short term future aired at MTA Q's one day conference in Brisbane on 7 March.

That's people who code - in case you've never heard the term 'codies' which, I must admit, I hadn't. The agenda was all about preparing for the future. While it was admitted that we're not that great at predicting future we all know that there are plenty of ideas and changes definitely heading our way, such as fully autonomous cars, and that the question is not if but when.

Associate Professor Michael Milford from Queensland University of Technology gave my favourite speech of the day all about artifical intelligence (AI) and robots and what influence they will have on the motor industry. The insurance industry in country's such as Japan and jumping all AI and where it used to be the military and mining industries that were the number AI customers they are now minnows compared with data-driven companies. Virtual reality for training, the strengths and weakness of AI and uses that robots could be put to (painting cars in the repair process I'm afraid spray painters - if the cost comes down) were all touched on.

Tony Ho from 3D Space Labs gave a fascinating talk on 3D printing discussing fully 3D printed cars and the myriad possibilites for spare parts (including human ones). Audi already uses 3D printing for parts in further flung parts of the world and Ho even posited that 3D printing could end the production line as we know it. Being able to print on demand could also bring down the cost of parts as distributors wouldn't have to carry and store a huge inventory.

A presentation by Niko Limans of the Department of Transport and Main Roads revealed what a huge task creating a vehicle to infrastructure network will be when nearly 40 percent of roads in Australia don't even have lines on the curb which are essential to autonomous and semi-autonomous systems. However, it was interesting to note that the team dedicated to this task has grown very quickly in the last three years showing government intent to create the right conditions for fully autonomous vehicles to function.

Sarah Caplan from accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Coopers, who have replaced Auto Skills Australia, talked about the task ahead in reviewing training course curriculum. The department is known as Skills for Australia and Caplan outlined the process the company would be undertaking to ensure that courses reflected the skills needed for the repair industry.

The afternoon was broken up with a walk around the MTAQ training centre where there were four different presentations on AI, 3D printing, electric vehicles and Milwaukee Tools. There were also presenations from Queensland government personnel outlining their tasks and responsibilites for keep Queensland ahead of the technology curve.

Source: www.paintandpanel.com.au, 9 March 2017

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