Thursday, 4 April 2019

Increasing focus on connected mobility

In exactly a week’s time, the Malaysia Autoshow will once again open its doors to the public at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang, from April 11 to 14.
The 2019 edition, themed “Mobility for All”, will continue to showcase automotive products with an increasing focus on Malaysia’s vision towards connected mobility.
As the government’s flagship event to bring the entire automotive, transportation and mobility experience to Malaysians, the Autoshow continues to bring in unique displays, exhibitions and immersive activities, such as the 3km test-drive route, vehicle performance experiences as well as experiential insights into the technology, talent and opportunities that lie hidden within the breadth, depth and diversity that make up the industry ecosystem.
As we approach the fifth edition of the autoshow, one of the key ingredients is the thought process, or inspiration, that has sustained the Malaysia Autoshow brand in the last half decade.
When the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute, or MARii, (previously Malaysia Automotive Institute) decided to host the autoshow, we started with very little experience in hosting events at such as large scale.
More importantly, while sustaining and growing domestic sales has always been an important agenda to MARii since its establishment, we realised that people of great automotive nations not only had an affection for cars, but also had an affinity for safety, technology and a sense of attachment to the science, engineering and innovation that manifested itself through a thriving automotive industry.
Perhaps the key myth that requires detachment in this sense – is that technologically-innovative societies are imagined as being full of engineers and scientists.
While having a critical mass in the scientific community is very important, there is no specialisation that can claim to be the key driver of innovation. The automotive industry requires artists, accountants, logistics experts and other non-technical experts to take science and engineering to a level where it becomes an art.
Furthermore, the advent of Industry 4.0 and connected mobility will certainly add new dimensions to such technological artistry, merging previously unconnected sectors into a grand industry of mobility – a major subject of this column throughout the years.
It is for this reason, the team has extensively reviewed and added new innovations to the show, starting with a new concept for the MARii mobility hall. The artistry, design, innovation and technology that lies within the entire value chain will be demonstrated in a single linear flow, so Malaysians know exactly where to match their interests to specific talents or technology components along the mobility value chain.
The end of the mobility hall will feature an imagined future mobility town, showcasing new linkages to the world of future mobility. It serves as the final connection to the MARii Enablers booth – where the participation of Malaysians in this new future can be realised.
The next connection will be highly experiential. For the young ones, parents now have the opportunity to spark their interest in experiential activities such as robot combat, autonomous vehicle programming, e-sports and automotive skills demonstrations at the MARii Activity Arena.
This is a great opportunity to take their minds off their phones and let them experience a multitude of new technologies that will become relevant tomorrow.
To encourage a showcase by the entire ecosystem, the MARii mobility hall has been subsidised by the government to allow participation by all stakeholders, including government, academic and startups vying for new opportunities in the market.
With that said, we hope the Malaysia Autoshow will continue to evolve its exhibits year on year, continuously experimenting and innovating, to spark the interest of the Malaysian society of all backgrounds and fields.
It is not only a show by the government, or by MARii. It is a showcase by the entire mobility ecosystem.

The writer is the chief executive officer of the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii).

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