“Transition,” today, is a widely used word that prompts a change in society and especially in the economy, which is activated first by a pandemic war and, later, by military wars and conflicts of a geopolitical and geostrategic nature.
Undoubtedly, these circumstances facilitate two agendas that have become strategic imperatives: the digital transition and the climate transition. In this sense, the automotive industry in Portugal, to maintain or even increase its performance, must quickly adapt to new challenges.
There is no doubt that the automotive sector is in transition, especially with electric vehicles and cleaner technologies, a strategy that is compatible with the search for renewable energy and the reduction of carbon emissions.
This transition does not, however, happen in isolation. It is accompanied, for example, by a strong study of technological innovation, highlighting, here, the development of digitalization, automation, artificial intelligence, or connectivity—aspects that have the power to improve the industry, such as automobile production and design.
These major strategic changes, of course, force companies to adapt to new technologies, changes in supply chains, and environmental and regulatory requirements, which are critical challenges for the automotive industry. These transitions, however, also present a set of opportunities that drive innovation and the emergence of sustainable mobility models. And it is precisely in this paradigm shift and in this evolution that new businesses and partnerships are born, essential for competition.
In the case of the automotive sector, we can say, without a doubt, that the development of this industry has a great impact on the internal and external competitiveness of the country, which is important for the economy, innovation, and global image. Considering the magnitude and importance of this transition, it is urgent to invest in projects and dossiers that bring added value to a real and efficient energy transition in the automotive industry. That supports the giants of the sector to work and develop the development of new concepts and products for the Car of the Future—and, consequently, the Mobility of the Future—but it also helps SMEs in need of digital transformation of the value chain, both at the product and process level, positioning current companies and startups in the future.
It is urgent work to develop new concepts, new products, and new components for the car of the future and, above all, to support the necessary changes in the production processes involved in Industry 4.0 and the Factory of the Future concept.
It is also a priority to strengthen the process of digital transition, positioning national SMEs as leaders of this change and mobilizing them to create a real hub of digital innovation in the automotive sector. A hub well prepared for the demands of this change, with all the necessary tools to start a structured change that will include testing before investing, qualification, and training in the digital field, which supports the search for financing for investment, acts as a facilitator for the adoption of new solutions and provides support to startups to develop the entrepreneurship ecosystem through incubation and acceleration services.
Digital innovation hubs have a significant impact on the national economy because they influence the most diverse sectors, drive economic growth, create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship, attract investments, and develop the technological ecosystem. They also affect traditional industries and increase national competitiveness.
“The only constant in life is change,” said Heraclitus. Today, in this highly volatile and complex world where social, economic, and geopolitical disturbances are evident, organizations with digital capabilities have greater continuity and resilience to face challenges. The digital transition, like the green transition, is an absolute priority challenge for European society. It is part of a European transformation agenda. And, therefore, we have only one path, which is to follow this trend and priority, if it is not the real locomotive of competitiveness.