As Moore’s Law observes, technology advances at an exponential rate. Since Gordon Moore’s prediction regarding the number of transistors that could fit on an integrated circuit, made in 1965, the Law has now become a gold standard in the electronics industry, something of a self-fulfilling prophecy that maps the trajectory of our advanced technologies. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent law when it comes to education or training. However, it is certainly true that the faster technology advances, the greater the necessity to develop innovative new educational programs to equip people with the skills and expertise they need to thrive at a time of rapid economic and social change.
Around the world, smart mobility has been advancing at a dramatic rate, with developments in autonomous driving, EVs, and intelligent vehicle systems that utilize sensors and integrate high speed cloud connectivity. In years past, China’s nascent automotive industry has been characterized as in a state of playing “catch up” to the rest of the world. But in 2001, things began to change after the country set up initiatives like the “863 EV Project”, which served as a catalyst for research and schemes to develop technologies related to EV, hybrid EV, and fuel cell vehicles. The Chinese government also set policy framework to accelerate the development in these fields and create a world leading automotive industry.
Since then, there has been explosive growth in the Chinese EV and AV sector, especially in the last 10 years. In 2018 alone, China sold three times as many electric vehicles as the US. No longer relegated to “catching up”, China’s automotive industry might be seen as a proving ground for innovative EV and AV models for the rest of the world.
While China’s homegrown automotive industry has already made great progress, its future development relies on harnessing the know-how and talent of the next generation. With the right tools at their disposal, tomorrow’s automotive industry workers have the potential to push innovation well beyond anything we can imagine today. But without the means to cultivate this talent, the industry’s rate of growth may lose steam.
Traditional automotive training programs in vocational schools often teach a curriculum that struggles to keep abreast with the innovations we see today. In other cases, training facilities may possess knowledgeable teaching staff but lack access to the new hardware and software needed for a comprehensive hands-on education in these fields.
For students and faculty of automotive industry training courses at Shanghai Nanhu Vocational School, one of the top technical training institutions in China, these road bumps are a thing of the past. In partnership with VIA, the school has established the new VIA Headway Autonomous Vehicle Education and Research Platform to teach people of all ages and skill levels the leading-edge technologies that will drive the development of tomorrow’s auto industry.
As the first step in this partnership, the school is creating a full range of courses that leverage the VIA Headway AV platform to equip students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills of cutting-edge autonomous driving, ADAS, surround view, radar, and lidar technologies that they can use in the development and manufacturing of EVs and other vehicles.
Nanhu expects nearly a million students to graduate from this program in the next five years, demonstrating the huge demand for highly trained talent in the automotive industry. With amazing new products like the $5,000 Hongguang Mini EV already taking the China market by storm, it’s going be incredibly exciting to watch what kind of groundbreaking innovations graduates of the program come up with that will fuel even faster industry growth in the future.