From automobile to mobility. New roles. New challenges.
14–16 September 2021
We are getting together again, this time with one year delay due to covid pandemic, at the FISITA World Congress, devoted to the latest results of R&D including innovative design of vehicles and their components. I regret the current pandemic situation does not permit to organize this meeting as face-to-face but still on-line. We – as organizers – are doing our best to support not only presentations but also discussions using this format, the whole world having been accustomed to in the past two years.
Many other abrupt changes have occurred in our domain of interest. The drivers of them are on one side societal requirements, based on real or just imaginary challenges. On the second hand, they have been enabled by progress in mechanical electrical and especially IT engineering together with computer science and overall digitization of industry and our lives. The applications of artificial intelligence are more and more frequent, although still with low IQ. Vehicles are more and more connected as a part of a mobility system, not as insulated products, and the system should be responsible for the freedom of future mobility.
These possibilities and the increased needs for affordability of mobility of persons and goods for the whole world with fast increasing population have caused many positive and negative expectations, corrected by evident aftermaths, which are well known to all of you.
Broad public and politicians think “Everything is possible, if engineers and scientists are creative enough and industry management will not be too selfish, avoiding the profit only”. Thus, the driving factor of engineers’ activities are societal demands for flexible, affordable, cleaner and safer mobility, which is reflected by vehicle market but under additional governmental regulations.
It would be a nice fairy-tale for ordinary customers to cover all the demands at once, avoiding energy and rare material consumption, formation of pollutants or possible climate change effects, traffic jams discomfort or fatalities in vehicles – everything reached by some miraculous solutions. An effort for finding completely new solutions are typical for every new generation of engineers, often assuming the infinite possibilities of new technologies. Moreover, it is driven by both mentioned rationalistic and emotive requirements up to radical ones without any idea of real issues in finding and realizing solutions.
Revolution with the best intentions causes many surprising results, as we know from personal experience in this part of Europe. The evolution does not offer attractive disrupting innovations but it offers knowledge base for finding the real limits of engineering and experience from the past revolutions. Therefore, the combination of disruptive technologies and the current know-how should show the direction for R&D for engineers. The activities of regulating bodies should be limited to technology neutral demands defined by boundary conditions. The demands should be based on holistic criteria following life-cycle analysis of the mobility system, not separated vehicles only. Unfortunately, it is another nice fairy-tale, this time for engineers, under the attempt to obtain general public support in political fights.
What to do? Just in ideal case – try to repeat and repeat and repeat optimization of any design and compare it to competitive designs using above mentioned holistic criteria. Never lose other solutions from portfolio of expertize.
To fulfill these hints, our congress shall help. However, to be realistic – the experience from economy changes, market reaction, real environment outcomes, etc., is the only way to persuade society. The try-and-error method will be very expensive, hopefully without broader social impacts. We – as predictive engineers – have to do our best to avoid unnecessary problems caused by future “interesting” and challenging times.
Jan Macek, August 22, 2021
By attending FISITA 2021 you can expect to:
Learn about the most significant research, development and discoveries in subjects like next generation powertrains, automated driving, intelligent safety systems, weight reduction, advanced driver assistance, and ITS technologies
Network with colleagues from 40+ countries at one conference
Meet influential experts from industry, academia and government
See some of the latest hardware and solutions which are driving future vehicles and mobility in the technical exhibition
Discover many technical and business opportunities surrounding advanced mobility technology.
The Virtual platform will be available for participants from 13 September 2021.