• Madani Sahari

A leap for the industry, a leap for the nation

Last week, the government announced the Malaysian automotive industry’s leap into the future.

It is an initiative that would take Malaysia into the next technological phase, spurred by Connected Mobility at the core of the industry – redefining the automotive sector as the Mobility Industry.

Connected Mobility is Malaysia’s new direction in our industrialisation process. In a nutshell, it is the amalgamation of the various transport modes, be it private or public, into an integrated system of systems.

As transportation becomes autonomous – i.e. navigation of vehicles are all digitally controlled – they create new spaces for different forms of lifestyles to exist.

Your car, bus, or any commute can also be your board room, dining hall, shopping mall, hotel room or whatever autonomous technology will allow.

All these elements transmit data, and such data must be transmitted and shared across the many mobility elements that will peruse them for their own decision making. Functions such as navigation, alerts, optical recognition, and machine learning all consume data that are processed into knowledge and decision making at human or machine levels.

This makes connected mobility not only a technological breakthrough, but also a breakthrough in societal evolution. This requires rethinking in almost all aspects, technologically or otherwise.

Businesses, careers, education, finance, commerce, legal and government structures all must evolve along with this new transformation of human endeavour.

On a grander scale, mobility technology also opens up technological possibilities across the various non-automotive sector. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, for example, open up avenues for ground mapping in agriculture, logistics in remote areas, weather forecasting, or even law enforcement.

With the National Automotive Plan 2018 (NAP2018) currently under its consultation process, it is now time for us to start discussing the way forward for the automotive industry.

In a previous column, I presented my case for taking such a leap now – early mover advantage will have its privileges. Achieving this point of privilege is, of course the most difficult part, but it is key that everybody is willing to discuss taking this leap.

This government’s vision of connected mobility is expected be the centrepiece of the NAP2018, with key focuses on artificial intelligence, next generation vehicles, mobility-as-a-service (Maas) and Industrial Revolution 4.0 with the data as a driving force behind all initiatives and enablers of the connected mobility vision.

The implementation of such a vision is expected to span across government, industry and academic spheres in way that are unprecedented, and will require all specialisations to break out of past isolations to combine into multi-disciplinary working groups with a common goal. After all, it is called Connected Mobility for a reason, it must connect us in all sense of its meaning.

With that said, I implore all stakeholders, both public or private, to contact us and discuss your ideas, thoughts and possible contributions to this future. Your feedback is key to ensuring that this tall order towards the next phase of the nation’s industrialisation is realistically created.

Before us now lies a clearer vision from the current government – it is not something that we plucked out of thin air, but one that is in line with global trends that we will formulate to our own identity.

Through NAP2014, we proved as a nation that the automotive industry is more resilient than ever. Competition was celebrated, and better choices in technology and safety made our automotive market better for our consumers.

There is no doubt that this new vision of connected mobility will have its paths of resistance. Let us make sure that this resistance is not a product of our own self doubt.

After all, sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith. Make that leap into the blue ocean of connected mobility.

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