CEO Monthly Message
Dr Brett Dale
In a unique way, the pillars which underpin MTA Queensland -advocacy, service, education/training, innovation and mobility – will unite in a significant project to provide staff and the public with an amenity which is liberating, effective and environmentally friendly.
In previous From the CEO’s Desks in Motor Trader, I’ve referred to the emerging Skills and Knowledge precinct at the nearby Brisbane Technology Park (BTP). Involved in this project is consortia of interests including the BTP, the Brisbane Marketing Economic Board, Griffith University and MTA Queensland. A critical component to be addressed is precinct staff and visitor mobility between Technology Parks (the BTP and the MTA Queensland’s Freeway Office Park) and transport options to and from adjacent retail centres. For this purpose, a 12-month pilot of the SAGE automation Olli autonomous shuttle and shuttle stop is envisaged as the optimal mobility outcome.
With the consortia team and Local Motors (Sage Automation) I met with the South East Queensland Council of Mayors, the Chief Executive Officer and senior executives to discuss pilots of the driverless vehicle technologies. The outcome was agreement that shuttle bus trials could be undertaken in several of the councils’, subject to a successful application for a federal grant. The intention remains to have two autonomous Olli shuttles in operation by the end of this year. There will be ongoing discussions with State and local government officers about the logistics of the trials.
As a Group, we can take pride in this project and must promote the benefits of this autonomous shuttle innovation, so that potential users can adjust their thinking processes to a new mode of transport. It seems to me that in general, the public are not recognising the future liberating benefits of autonomous vehicles.
Members will recall that the corporate office was built at the Freeway Office Park with an objective to reduce the Association’s environmental footprint which included the installation of solar panels. Since then, an electric vehicle station has been installed in the car park and more will be required as staff and visitors transition to electric vehicles. To maintain a sustainable energy source and best practice, the Association has committed to the installation of a wind turbine. For this purpose, I met with Australian Electric Infrastructure Transport (AEIT) which is a Brisbane-based start-up company. The AEIT is currently undertaking feasibility studies to launch Australia’s first wireless charging electric bus, light rail / tram system.
A hot button media item has been the decline in apprenticeship numbers across Australia. Consequently, there have been requests for interviews on the issue which we were pleased to do, particularly as MTA Queensland is a provider of the Federal Government’s Industry Specialist Mentoring for Australian Apprentices (ISMAA) program It aims to increase apprentice retention rates, particularly in the first two years of training, in order to improve completion rates and support the supply of skilled workers in industries undergoing structural change. It is our view that the program has benefits to first and second year apprentices in the motor trades and we are confident that there will be increased retention in those cohorts.
As indicated in last month’s From the Desk of the CEO, there are two vacancies on the MTAI Board of Directors. Chairman Ian Lawrence advised the appointment of, and welcomed to one of the roles, Queensland University of Technology Professor Michael Milford. He is a leading robotics researcher conducting interdisciplinary research at the boundary between robotics, neuroscience and computer vision, and a multi-award winning educational entrepreneur. Professor Milford is well known to us through his involvement in the Carmageddon symposiums.
One of the issues recognised as vital to our membership was the impact of technological changes on their businesses. The Carmageddon symposiums and other fora emphasised the need to implement strategies, innovate and utilise new products to advantage business so as to participate in the digital economy. Change continues apace, and we must stay with it. For this purpose, MTA Queensland has committed to participate in Something Digital – a festival to be held on 1 November at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event will bring together ‘participants in the digital economy including start-ups, small business and established organisations specifically in digital roles which foster thought leadership, technology and marketing.’ Similar to the Carmageddon symposiums, Something Digital will have significant learnings for our executive team and the membership alike and permits us to be part of the forward thinking that drives digital economies.
Cooperative and Automotive Vehicle Initiative (CAVI)
In the May From the Desk of the CEO, I mentioned a meeting with Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) to discuss the potential to utilise the MTA Institute’s auto-electrician capability relating to wireless technology. This would enhance the work on the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems project underway. As a part of ongoing discussions, I met with DTMR General Manager Denis Walsh on what is now referred to CAVI to be delivered by DTMR ‘to help prepare for the arrival of new vehicle technologies with safety, mobility and environmental benefits on Queensland roads.’
CAVI will lay the technical foundations for the next generation of smart transport infrastructure and has four components: Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems Pilot—the largest on-road testing trial in Australia of cooperative vehicles and infrastructure; Cooperative and Highly Automated Driving Pilot; Vulnerable road user pilot; and Change management. One of our senior technical trainers is engaged in collaborating with staff from DTMR to progress the initiative which is expected be implemented late 2019. The MTA Institute has already retro-fitted four vehicles with the communication devices and developed an installation manual for methods and processes involved. There is also potential scope for this project to involve MTA Queensland members to complete further retro-fitting of vehicles and for our apprentices to become skilled in the technology as well as the installation of the devices, broadening the training set of the MTA Institute.
I try to keep an eye on market place happenings or attend meetings that have relevance to the membership. One of these was a briefing on Car2Go by Austrade and Brisbane Marketing with the product overviewed by the company’s Chief Executive Officer. It is in the process of establishing in Australia. Car2Go can be classified as a ‘disrupter’ as the service forgoes the centralised rental office, and cars are accessed via a downloadable smartphone App wherever they are parked. Seemingly, it is shared mobility through car sharing that provides all the benefits of a car without owning one – parking, fuel and insurance. Users are charged by the minute, with hourly and daily rates available. As of July 2017, Car2Go is the largest carsharing company in the world. This business model is likely to be a huge part of industry in the future and the establishment in Australia and Queensland is both important and relevant.
And the last thing
The value of stakeholder engagement and input into federal policy issues was driven home to me at a recent National Transport Commission (NTC) roundtable. Its purpose was to discuss ‘end-to-end regulation . . . to support the safe commercial deployment and operation of automated vehicles and at all levels of automation’. The aim is to have the process in place by 2020. Automated vehicle safety assurance has been a policy matter that MTA Queensland has engaged in since June 2017 via submissions. At the round table, I had the opportunity to support and supplement the content in our submissions. More importantly, I was able to provide feedback and balance to issues that would be the subject of regulations from the perspective of the automotive value chain and the consumer. I felt much was achieved.
Over the next month my focus will include rolling out the action plan for 2019. I’m keen to establish MTA Queensland in the innovation space as required under the Strategic Plan 2016-18. One of the exciting projects being explored is a Centre of Excellence or learning institute centred on mobility linked to autonomous technology and innovation to be established in a suitable and enthusiastic community of Queensland.
Until August, as Henry Ford, the industrialist and the founder of the Ford motor company said, ‘execute ideas with enthusiasm . . . as it is the bottom of all progress’.
Archive CEO Monthly Messages
CEO June 2018 Monthly Message
CEO May 2018 Monthly Message
CEO April 2018 Monthly Message
CEO March 2018 Monthly Message
CEO February 2018 Monthly Message
CEO December 2017 Monthly Message
CEO November 2017 Monthly Message
CEO October 2017 Monthly Message
CEO September 2017 Monthly Message
CEO August 2017 Monthly Message
CEO July 2017 Monthly Message