The manufacturing of autonomous vehicles calls for a combination of skills beyond traditional engineering. As the required expertise changes, however, what kinds of training should colleges and universities offer?

In a Tech Briefs presentation titled “Connected Vehicles & Cybersecurity: How Government and Industry Are Responding to New IoT Tech & Emerging Threats,” a reader asked Patti Kreh, Specialist of New Program Development at SAE International:

You mentioned that an “interdisciplinary approach” to education is needed for the next frontier of connected and automated vehicles. What types of occupations should colleges and universities anticipate in order to develop the curriculum for the next generation of professionals?

Read Kreh's edited response below.

Patti Kreh: That’s a challenging question. Early in the presentation, I mentioned a study on an automated/connected vehicles “skills gap.” This research found that workers in this area came from a really diverse array of occupations, making it difficult to figure out the skill set of the future.

What we’re seeing is the need for the blending of disciplines — a combination of traditional engineering, physical sciences, computer science, mathematics, and, believe it or not, ethics.

Ethics is becoming a higher priority especially as autonomous vehicles are being programmed to make decisions.

One recommendation I’d make is collaboration; companies need to work together to create a common set of requirements. Without this education, institutions will not be able to provide the right curriculum and training opportunities — both for the current workforce that wants to upscale, as well as the future workforce.

What do you think are important skills and disciplines for tomorrow’s designers and engineers? Share your thoughts below.

Watch the full presentation: Connected Vehicles & Cybersecurity: How Government and Industry Are Responding to New IoT Tech & Emerging Threats.