Self-Driving Cars Means Training Will Pick Up Speed: Trends from the 18th Annual Automotive News Europe Congress

By Piet-Jan van Gerwen

Congestion on roads, parallel parking, getting lost, and the stresses of driving in a busy city – all things that worry us about driving…but could all soon be relegated to trips down memory lane. As drivers, we can now rely on our cars to tell us where to go, park themselves, and soon, according to several OEMs at the 18th Annual Automotive News Europe (ANE) Congress, drive themselves.

According to a presentation at ANE by Volvo, in 90 to 95 percent of all car accidents human error is partly or fully responsible. Volvo’s vision is to design cars that should not crash, and have targeted 2020 as the year that no-one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car. Eliminating human error, for Volvo and other OEM manufacturers, offers the largest potential in reaching this target.

Autonomous driving technology, which primarily supports drivers rather than removing the “driving experience” for them, can help drastically reduce this number while providing several other benefits, including improved safety, efficiency and mobility. In fact, by 2018, the autonomous driving market could be worth €5 billion. But without the proper training framework in place for dealers and sales people (and consumers), these benefits cannot be fully realised.

As automotive manufacturers, such as Volvo and Toyota, start to incorporate a wide variety of new features and technology into their vehicles to enable autonomous driving, training professionals can expect to see increased interest for sales team training programs. OEMs will need to train technical and sales staff within their retailer network to prepare them to face the increased level of questioning from consumers about enhanced features and mechanics within these new cars. As new features are added to vehicles, OEMs and learning and development professionals have the opportunity to:

  • Re-evaluate training processes
  • Re-establish guidelines for success
  • Identify areas in the training program that need improvement
  • Introduce new training methodologies, such as virtual classrooms or simulation training

Seeing cars that drive themselves on Europe’s roads is still a number of years away. Still to be answered and determined are a number of questions regarding security, safety, and cost, both in terms of the development of autonomous driven cars and the infrastructure to support them. However, OEMs and training professionals should view the introduction of each new feature as an opportunity to improve the customer experience, starting with their first visit to the showroom floor.

Did you attend ANE? Do you have any insights to share on the training required prior to commercial deployment of automated vehicles? We would love to hear from you.

Piet-Jan Van Gerwen is EMEA Director of Business Development Commercial Segment for Raytheon Professional Services LLC (RPS). He is responsible for expanding RPS’ business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Piet-Jan has spent the last 25 years in the learning industry leading various areas of the training value chain, including learning design and development, training operations and learning technology.