Crossing the Atlantic for autonomy

A deal signed this week will see organisations in the UK and America work together to develop the skills required to repair self-driving cars.

According to the Financial Times, a memorandum of understanding signed by Michigan governor Rick Snyder and UK business minister Richard Harrington will see businesses around Detroit work with those in the UK to share technology and to support the automotive industry’s shift to autonomous driving.

This includes training technicians to repair sensors and the development of smart motorways.

The idea is to pre-empt the type of jobs that will emerge in the coming years, and ensure the industry has the skills readily available to fill them.

Commenting on the agreement, Rick told the Financial Times, ‘These are the people who are going to be in every major repair place in the world. They have already started the programme because the industry is going to hire the first 5-10 years of graduates. It’s a specialised need, and the traditional auto technician is not really kitted out to do that.’

Rick also believes that for the public to accept autonomous technology, they will need to see the positives that can be derived from it. One way of doing this is by using London’s example of communication technology that uses data from online cars to tell other drivers of bad weather or traffic.

After the fatal incident involving an autonomous vehicle in Arizona this year, self-driving vehicle safety is an issue on many people’s mind. Autonomous technology and testing still has a way to go but can be improved through education and skill development.