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Insights How will electrical engineering change in the future?

Electrical engineering has been a key aspect of human advancement for centuries. From televisions and lightbulbs to cell phones and radios, modern innovations in electrical engineering have informed, enlightened, and connected the world. 

The electrical engineering sector is undergoing another major transformation and ambitious research and development teams around the world are working on improving several aspects of our lives, including communications, safety, and energy efficiency.

Here, we discuss the key trends that will shape the future of electrical engineering and the modern world.

image of men in safety clothing looking at a telephone pole

A larger influence on the automotive industry

The electric vehicle industry is beginning to take flight, with as many as 145 million EVs predicted to be on the road by 2030 . Electrical engineering is at the forefront of the automotive vehicle revolution and the technology is backed by a range of government climate policies.

Canada has taken great strides in its transition to a greener automotive industry by announcing new vehicle sales goals that target a 10% share for EVs by 2025, 40% by 2030 and 100% by 2040. As the cost of lithium-ion battery technology decreases, conventional resources like diesel fuel decline in demand, and governments come under further pressure to push engineering firms to become more sustainable , resources are being moved towards exciting innovations in the automotive industry. Electrical engineering is the key to a greener automotive sector and development teams will have a huge impact on the industry moving forward.

Wearable technologies

Wearable devices have become increasingly popular over the last few years with consumers typically using them for health-focused activities such as exercise and monitoring heart rate.

In the electrical engineering industry, wearable devices are being developed to drastically improve the standards of safety on the job. Electrical engineers can select from a variety of devices that reduce with risk of electrical shock when working with charged circuits.

A range of devices have been developed to mitigate accidents associated with electrical contact. When the user gets into proximity with electrically charged equipment, the device notifies the user of the impending danger and the information is transferred to a mobile app, which the user can review at any time.

Wearable devices are also being developed to improve communication and accessibility to restricted areas and are expected to become a significant part of the electrical engineering industry in the future.

Smart Grids

Only a decade ago, the majority of consumers relied solely on electricity from a national power grid. While this conventional form of the power grid is expected to remain for a while, there has been significant improvement and innovation over the past few years.

We now have “smart grids” which are expected to be the preferred method of power from 2021 onwards. The smart grid represents an unprecedented opportunity to move the energy industry into a new era of reliability, availability, and efficiency that will contribute to our economic and environmental health.

The smart grid offers a range of benefits including:

  • More efficient transmission of electricity
  • Quicker restoration of electricity after power disturbances
  • Reduced peak demand, which will also help lower electricity rates
  • Better integration of customer-owner power generation systems, including renewable energy systems
  • Improved security

Smart grids are not just about utilities and technologies; they also provide consumers with more control, allowing them to manage their electricity usage, buy electricity when it’s at its lowest price rate and even sell unused energy.

Steps towards a more diverse workforce

Diversity and equality within the industry are crucial for the future of electrical engineering. Although progress has been made in recent years, women are still underrepresented in the workforce and ethnic minorities account for just 8% of all STEM workers.

However, progress is expected to accelerate in the next decade as higher education institutes actively encourage students from underrepresented groups to study engineering subjects in an attempt to diversify the industry. By creating a more inclusive environment where individuals are recognised for their skillset, the electrical engineering industry can expect to see an increase in diverse workers.

Here at Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group, we are passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion. We understand that progress in the engineering industry relies on having a range of individuals of different nationality, gender, culture, and more, and we are constantly doing our part to contribute to a more inclusive working environment.

Find your next engineering role with AtkinsRéalis

At AtkinsRéalis , we work in partnership with our clients to provide quality engineering solutions and deliver excellence. Over the years, we’ve recruited some of the most talented electrical engineers into a variety of rewarding and fulfilling roles.

By joining us as an electrical engineer, you will have the opportunity to work on complex projects varying in size, with access to learning and development programs, training, and expansive career opportunities.

We’re always looking to the future, and we’re growing our teams to provide a better future for the next generation. Browse our available electrical engineering jobs today, or sign up for job alerts to ensure that you’re always up to date with our latest opportunities.