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Honda partners with UTS for future solutions

Ponder Honda: Honda has called upon students from UTS to help brainstorm future mobility and sustainability solutions.

Student-led brainstorming workshop to help Honda calculate mobility solutions

Honda logo13 Jul 2017

By ROBBIE WALLIS

HONDA has partnered with the University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation and its students to help realise the car-maker’s vision for a more mobile and sustainable future.

Employing the help of students studying a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII), Honda conducted a workshop presenting its 2030 vision and asking for solutions to a number of future scenarios.

Those scenarios include ways to improve Australia’s automotive mobility, such as lessening congestion, as well as solutions to increase the sustainability of Australia’s vehicle fleet.

UTS Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation dean Louise McWhinnie said the workshop presented a great opportunity for the students to learn from industry professionals, and vice versa.

“There is so much to be gained for students from such industry collaborations, also for the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, the BCII program and for our students,” Prof McWhinnie said.

“It is also highly valuable for our wide range of industry partners (from local, to national to multi-national) that they engage with the universities in the education of future thinkers, and to understand the ideas and motivation of the future generation of innovators as well as consumers.

“It is important that such collaborations are carefully and intelligently nurtured to both the benefit of the industry partner as well as the students.” Honda is the first automotive company that UTS has collaborated with, after a previous industry collaborator recommended the workshop to the Japanese manufacturer, who then contacted the university.

Honda Australia general manager customer and communications Scott McGregor said the students were quickly able to identify solutions currently being developed by the motor industry.

“It's quite clear that these second year students have a real understanding of the challenges facing the future of the automotive industry and how best to answer those questions,” he said.

“The students now understand that while they may not have previously considered a career in the automotive industry, this year's winter school automotive alliance has opened their eyes.” Mr McGregor said a need for alternative fuels was one of the most pressing issues identified by the students.

“Pollution, congestion and environmental sustainability are all critical things the students have identified as having an immediate impact on their lives, and their future lives. Sitting with these students is a great wake-up call for everyone in the car industry.

“The UTS students and their peers, as leaders of tomorrow, are very well placed to put pressure on governments to come up with and execute solutions to the transport issues we face today.” A move away from conventional car ownership was also identified, with the students suggesting mobility pods as potential solutions, as well as an Uber-style app for 24/7 personal vehicle use, where the vehicle is perpetually mobile, and therefore not taking up parking spaces.

The workshop comes at the same time that the NSW government is discussing building wider toll roads in Sydney to ease congestion for the western and northern suburbs.

NSW transport minister Andrew Constance has decried the idea of building wider toll roads, instead saying we should be looking to future technologies to improve road congestion.

Speaking on ABC talkback radio, Mr Constance talked up driverless vehicles and their ability to judge traffic flow and mitigate congestion.

“We should be asking ourselves the questions: do we really need to be building four and five-lane motorways today when automation could completely change the thinking?” he said.

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