The Digital Revolution Taking Over the Automotive Industry

Today’s cars are constantly changing. Computers are slowly taking over while we just sit back and enjoy the ride. They are completely unrecognisable from cars just 15 years ago and have completely changed the industry and what it takes to look after them. But we haven’t stopped yet, cars will undoubtedly become autonomous in the not-too-distant future, rewriting the rule book all over again.

Computers in cars today

While they may not be driving us around, computers are already very much a part of our driving today. We may see the satnav, the parking sensors and the TVs in the back of the headrests for the kids but the real stuff is happening under the hood. Modern cars utilise what is known as an Engine Control Module (ECM) which is an electrical system that manages the main functions of the engine. The ECM is in charge of injecting the right amount of fuel to the pistons, cooling the engine to the right temperature and the right voltage, just to name a few features.

How is it changing the skills of repairers?

Because computers are an integral part of today’s engines, you cannot just simply be a mechanic anymore. Today, engine technicians must be trained to understand how computer systems like ECMs are programmed and how to re-code them. They must also know how to run diagnostic checks and diagnose issues regarding the entire electronic network that runs throughout the car, otherwise you will just have a very expensive driveway ornament.

Cars of the future

It’s no secret that the plan for the cars of the future will be to have self-driving capabilities. PwC predicts that by 2030, 15% of cars sold will be self-driving. But what will happen to those in the automotive industry? For one, without humans who are prone to making poor decisions and damaging the car, behind the wheel, there will be less accidents. Repairers such as panel beaters could face a huge loss in business as a result. However with any new technology, there are always new opportunities. The cars will still breakdown and someone will still need to fix them. New jobs markets will open requiring people with that knowledge. Also, until fully electrical engines are viable, engines will still have issues and still need modifications.

Technology is rapidly changing the automotive industry as we know it. It’s important we keep on top of the changes so that we don’t get left behind.