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At first glance, the aviation and automotive industries might not appear to be similar. Dig a little deeper under the surface and you'll find they actually share many traits. These resemblances open the door for talent to easily transfer across industries.
The Baby Boomer population is reaching retirement age, creating a skills gap as experienced and knowledgeable laborers leave the workforce. The automotive and aviation industries share many attributes allowing transferable skill sets, which could ultimately reduce the impact on the shrinking experienced labor force. Let's take a look at the similarities between the industries and how talent from one industry could potentially be skilled in both.
Making components light, inexpensive, efficient and malleable is key for both aircraft and road vehicle designers. Advanced materials, such as carbon fiber, were previously used only for aircraft, supercars such as F1, and during concept development. Today the automotive industry is beginning to use more carbon fiber in order improve the environmental performance of vehicles when they are out on the road. Whether it's finite element analysis or design engineering, skilled engineers can find a role in either sector.
The manufacturing techniques for the automotive industry are similar to those of aviation. Both industries use modular components and assembly along with large and complex supply chains. Although the volumes are not on the same level, the end goal is consistent: faster, cheaper, greener production. Knowledge and experience of high-rate production techniques, processes and supply chain management implemented to reach similar objectives can apply cross-sector. Having talent with proven experience in aircraft production could easily be trained in automotive production and vise versa.
Several technologies implemented to assist pilots fly and navigate aircrafts have already been integrated into automotive features, such as cruise control, satellite navigation and parking automation. Companies such as DiSTI, who design advanced graphical interface software, are already supplying their products to both industries and have long recognized the synergies between them, with their customer base including Jaguar, Land Rover and Boeing. With the industries evolving, having talent with insight from one industry could open doors for creative innovation in the other.
Both industries have an immense responsibility to focus on making their aircraft and vehicles as safe and compliant as possible for passengers, operators and the planet. A range of standards and regulations guide activities in both sectors with regards to health, safety, environment and quality. Transport laws have been developed at not only a global level, but even at a micro-level such as country and sometimes even state. Due to similarity of many industry standards and regulations, a thorough understanding of compliance can easily be transferred between both industries.
Although each industry previously developed distinct and separate paths, as we look ahead to the future of transportation, it seems that these two paths are starting to merge into one. There are still many differences between the automotive and aviation industries, yet the resemblances are clear. As the industries evolve together, it only makes sense that talent will, too.