I have been asked to speak in many parts of the world on behalf of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association and Canada. Wherever I go, people are keen to know more about the Ontario Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network and its development in Stratford, Ontario, as what will be the world's largest technology demonstration fleet with multiple stakeholders.
To succeed and stay ahead in the race, we must look at automobility and smart infrastructure, such as we're witnessing take shape in Stratford, as one combined effort, not separate silos.
That would be a change in the way we look at our industry.
Asian companies are beginning to capitalize on innovation, and they are rapidly transforming their business models. They understand that business no longer is going to be about simply selling stamped metallic shells with 30,000 installed components, but about selling time, applied services and data.
The development of artificial intelligence and its use in vehicles is also part of the effort. The levels of AI are important as vehicles become digital platforms instead of technology hosts.
But a recent report found that AI in North American auto companies had grown by just 3 percent in the field, even though 80 percent of the companies mentioned AI in their core strategies.
Those numbers are alarming when compared with companies in China, where the level of AI deployment has nearly doubled from 5 to 9 percent.
The finalists of this year's Automotive News PACE Awards give me hope for North America. Among them we see a growing presence of AI in their innovations and inventiveness. We also see a growing use of smart manufacturing, product development and materials to arrive at new products. PACE winners will be honored today, April 8.
That progress must continue.
Looking into the crystal ball, as technology evolves, it is intriguing to wonder what the PACE Awards might look like 25 years from now, and to wonder what that coming technology — emerging now — will mean for the health of Canadian, American and Mexican auto companies.
For our industry players to stay afloat and remain relevant, we must learn to pivot and move swiftly, to innovate for tomorrow. In 2044, PACE Awards finalists will be innovating with nanobots in vehicle systems, enhancing continuous induction charging and shaping their products around drones, bots, roboshuttles, and vacuum tube trains.
Change comes at you fast. You must be careful not to have your best story written only in your obituary.