AS mentioned substantially in this column, the most important aspect to build a hub for next generation vehicles (NxGVs) is the development of its surrounding ecosystem.
We have learnt that an automotive industry—which will evolve into the mobility industry in the near future — is not about vehicle assembly, but also about the industry generated to support the vehicle assemblers.
These include parts and components manufacturers, tool makers, machine builders, after sales and service, even marketing and educational institutions.
It is for this reason, we are looking at the development of the automotive industry holistically.
While local car manufacturers have shown tremendous progress in the highly competitive global and regional markets, exports of parts and components have almost tripled in the past five years.
The number of highly skilled engineers and designers have increased and while it may not have received extensive coverage, we are exporting our design and engineering services to countries that require their talent.
This column had highlighted that as we move into future mobility, business activities were no longer limited to plastic, metal and other conventional components and materials.
The complexity of vehicles will turn our future transportation into living cabins — a high technology mobile phone on wheels or a new living and working space that changes our commute through the advent of faster connectivity, increased vehicle intelligence and autonomous technology.
The ecosystem surrounding vehicle manufacturers will also expand in its scope.
Businesses in areas such as big data analysis and management, cloud computing, drone technology, artificial intelligence, smart commerce, e-learning and others are now part of the expanding mobility sector.
Since the Malaysia Automotive Institute was rebranded to Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) and given new mandates in December last year, it has seen the ecosystem for new technologies grow ing slowly.
Many of the companies were featured at the Malaysia Autoshow 2019.
Some of the technologies featured included smart homes, workshop management systems, telematics command centres, and augmented reality application in vehicle repair and training.
MARii had also published numerous articles, videos and events covering businesses that add technology value to their products and services, including aftersales commerce applications, vehicle engine control unit (ECU) tuning, and IoT hardware and software development.
The uptake of new businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in next generation vehicle technology is encouraging, and we hope to meet and develop relationships with companies in more areas of specialisation in the future.
In the meantime, the transition into capabilities in next generation vehicles, mobility-as-a-service and manufacturing technology associated with the above products and services will be a primary focus for the government in the near future.
The development is not limited to new businesses, but also existing businesses that can take advantage of their current expertise in vehicle and component production into the next era of advanced mobility.
As we draw closer to finalising the new National Automotive Policy the transition into future mobility models is highly achievable and if the government, industry and stakeholders renew their focus on the correct technology adoption, reskilling of talent, and de-conventionalise their business approach.
We have the potential to emerge as a prime mover in next generation vehicle technology.
The writer is the chief executive officer of the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii).