Carmageddon 2019: New World Mobility

On March 21, MTA Queensland held the third edition of the Carmageddon symposium – a one-day forum that seeks to highlight the disruption facing the automotive industry, the new technology on the horizon and already making an impact, and what a future mobility system might look like and how we get there.

This year’s edition of Carmageddon had the theme of New World Mobility and brought together industry leaders, start-up businesses and academics to discuss these issues. More than 100 attendees attended the event, including guests from government departments, the Queensland Police Service, Ipswich and Redland City Councils, Telstra, RACQ, QUT, Deloitte, CSIRO, the Australian Electric Vehicle Council and the University of Queensland.

The presentations were illuminating, and for those curious to see how technology is already making an impact on the industry, there was the added bonus in the presence of several electric and alternative fuel vehicles that had been brought together for the event. Those vehicles included a Tesla Model S and X, a Hyundai Ioniq Electric and hydrogen fuel cell-powered Nexo, a Jaguar I-Pace, and, from Renault, a Zoe and Kangoo ZE. Of special interest was the Cargo delivery van from ACE EV Group – a smart-looking electric vehicle assembled in Australia.

Opening Carmageddon this year was the Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, and the Minister set the tone for the event as she commented on the ever-increasing speed of change and the importance for Australia to keep pace with the rapid advances being made internationally.

“The quest for a more efficient and effective means of transport continues,” said the Minister. “Electric and hybrid vehicles will increasingly become a regular feature of the landscape, but all the indications are that we should expect more as technological disruption continues to hold sway.

“As a nation, we cannot afford to watch from the sidelines as this important transformation unfolds – we have to be active participants.

“The future of Australia’s automotive sector lies in embracing new technology, it lies in linking into global value chains and developing high value-added clients and services, be they aftermarket manufacturing, engineering and design, servicing and smash repairs or sales and afters ales. The future also lies in developing a workforce relevant to an era of rapid technological disruption and transformation. I look forward to continuing to work with you and others in the sector to make sure you’re positioned to make the most of the emerging opportunities.”

Following the Minister’s address, Dr Brett Dale, CEO of MTA Queensland presented his keynote address and talked about the major technologies driving industry change, the pace of that change, the potential value of it to society, and the challenges and opportunities for industry, government and consumers.
He reminded the audience that the automotive industry had a vital part to play not only as a driver of the economy but to the wellbeing of the wider community.
“We believe the auto industry and all
things mobility underpin and enable every other industry as well as the way we live in society,” he said.
“We know that connected, electrification and shared services will be the future of mobility and this change will be as big as the transition from horses to cars. Indeed, we are at dawn of a new era, the only question is when. Many are talking 2030, I am saying be ready by 2022 at the latest. We have been slow to appreciate the change that is coming, but the time is now.”

The opportunities that new technology and innovation presents was a thread that ran through all the presentations delivered at Carmageddon.

Having begun in 2017 as a relatively small gathering of researchers and innovators enthusiastically sharing their thoughts and insights into the automotive industry’s future direction, Carmageddon has grown to become an important event on the innovation landscape. It’s future, like that of the industry itself, is an exciting one.

“Carmageddon is progressing just how we thought it might,” said Dr Dale. “It has become increasingly popular to the point where I think we have outgrown our own venue.

“Our aspiration is to make this an annual event that becomes the must-see exhibition for business and motorists about all things mobility.

“Its future is huge and will be used as the platform to continually roll out the latest information on products and services relevant to our industry . . . The information we share is critical to ensure future markets through consumer awareness and trust in the new technology that is coming.”