IMI warns of growing ADAS skills gap

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has issued a stark warning that a lack of ADAS skills is putting road users at risk and undermining UK mobility.

Its report, Meeting the Demand for Skilled Vehicle Technicians in the Age of ADAS, examines the scale of Level 2 autonomy in the UK car parc and the skills required to maintain it.

It found that already five per cent of the UK car parc feature level 2 autonomy, but there are only 3,000 technicians with IMI TechSafe qualifications to work on vehicles featuring ADAS.

It is predicting a shortfall of 6,000 ADAS-qualified technicians this year alone, and warns that if current training trends continue that shortfall will increase to 51,000 qualified technicians by 2030, when 44% of cars on UK roads will include ADAS.

Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI, said: “Drivers are becoming accustomed to and reliant upon autonomous features on their vehicles. Any failure could be catastrophic. For example, if a driver took a second too long to notice that their adaptive cruise control had failed on a motorway they could easily suffer a serious high-speed collision with the vehicle in front. It would be a similar story if Lane Keeping Assist or the Lane Departure Warning failed and a driver drifted into the neighbouring lane in front of a faster vehicle. The risks could be even higher for more advanced features such as Autosteer and Automated Lane Change.

“It is no exaggeration to say that it is a matter of life and death that these technologically advanced vehicles are maintained only by fully qualified technicians. The skills need is immediate with such a significant proportion of UK cars already using Level 2 autonomy. It is also critical to recognise the serious economic impact of the skills gap. A lack of qualified workforce means delays in vehicle repairs, undermining UK mobility.”