Apr
18
2019

Automotive Engineer

An automotive engineer helps design, adapt and develop vehicles either for retail or for motorsport. He or she may specialise in a particular area e.g. in the development of parts such as the chassis, or may be an expert on electrical technology or aerodynamics or fuel consumption or thermodynamics. They usually work as part of a multidisciplinary team with members both in the UK and abroad.

Tasks undertaken by an automotive engineer include

o Using technical skills and computer design technology to find ways of building new systems and parts for vehicles, whilst being aware of environmental issues affecting the new designs

o Creating prototypes and find ways of testing new products both using computer software and physically testing them

o Managing and leading projects, including the work of other staff, and overseeing the budget during the production process, and being responsible for all quality control issues

o Attending meetings in order to discuss new technology and take into account others’ concerns or suggestions

o Keeping up to date with new processes and technology, and developing new ways of designing and creating change

o Solving engineering problems in all areas of vehicle construction including electrical, thermodynamic, fuselage, and aerodynamics

Automotive engineers in the retail industry are still primarily based in the Midlands which is where most car manufacturing takes place. Those working in motorsport may be based in the South East however in what is known as Motorsport Valley, which is where they tend to have their research, design and production facilities. Other smaller specialist firms are dotted around the UK and it is possible to find work with one of these.
The hours worked by automotive engineers is usually 9-5 in the retail industry, but will vary for those working in motorsport where weekend and evening work is the norm.

Starting salaries in retail are from £25-£30,000 depending on degree grade and area of specialisation. Salaries rise with experience, and after four years should be around the £50,000 mark. Salaries for those working in motorsport may be considerably higher. There is the potential for overseas travel in both sectors.

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Apr
17
2019

Today’s Automotive Engineer – A Technology Guru With Connectivity Solutions

Technology gurus are hiding in a variety of places these days. Say, for instance, the automotive industry.

The automotive industry has produced some of the most advanced and user-friendly technologies publicly marketed in recent years. We can now not only operate our cars without keys, but we can also map our next trip, download information from our desktops onto a “carputer,” assess the state of the vehicle, watch movies, arm a security system inside and out and be alerted when others are in our blind spots.

Take, for instance, an entry-level map-based integrated navigation radio, which uses a flash-based secure digital card color map database to provide high-performance navigation. A single, state-of-the-art navigation kernel and map data compiler used in the European market help shorten Original Equipment (OE) innovation cycles, and a range of options allows for entertainment and ease-of-use features. Integrated into a single unit, a map navigation system can be used in parallel to the audio system.

Such a system can include AM/FM radio, navigation tools, playback mechanisms like compact discs and MP3s, and connectivity options for portable electronic devices. Of course, customers can add nearly anything a techy heart could desire, like a digital tuner, USB, touch-screen interface, voice recognition, steering wheel control and audio codec options.

And that’s just the basic model. Touch-screen navigation radios are full-featured audio and navigation systems in one unit, using onboard computers that interact with the Global Positioning System (GPS), vehicle sensors and a DVD-map database. Such personal travel assistants minimize travel time, make travel more convenient and increase peace of mind. Benefits include multiple functions in one compact unit, the ease of a touch screen, voice prompts, entertainment options, state-of-the-art navigation, the ability to remap locations if the driver misses a turn and intersection views for detailed maneuvering guidance.

Active safety systems, like active night vision, lane departure warning systems and infrared side (blind spot) alerts, are other excellent examples of automotive engineers’ ability to connect advanced technologies in a manner that makes the driving experience both safer and more enjoyable.

Active night vision uses near-infrared headlamps to illuminate the road scene ahead and displays an enhanced image in the vehicle. This system provides high-beam visibility without blinding oncoming traffic. Components of the active night vision system can be shared with other safety features, such as a lane departure warning system.

When lane departure warning systems utilize a camera, the camera can also be used for multiple features, such as active night vision, pedestrian recognition, rain sensing and intelligent headlight control. The lane departure warning system uses a monocular camera mounted behind the windshield to track lanes in front of the vehicle. Accompanying software estimates lane width and road curvature, and determines the vehicle’s heading and lateral position within the lane. When the driver strays from his or her own “dotted lines,” an audible, tactile or visual alert is issued. According to an automotive magazine, ninety-five percent of all vehicular accidents involve some degree of driver behavior — such as swerving. Systems like lane departure warning provide hope of reducing the approximately one hundred deaths that occur every day on American roadways, as reported by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1995.

Side (blind spot) alerts provide the same hope. These systems help drivers be aware of vehicles in side blind spots when changing lanes and making turns. Sensors integrated into mirrors, taillights and side fascia measure the adjacent lane temperature over time to detect if vehicles are entering the side blind spot. If detected, the system provides visual indications within the mirrors. If this proves ineffective and a turn signal is activated anyway, an audible alert follows. These warnings give drivers more time to react and, hopefully, help avoid the more than 200,000 lane change accidents that occur every year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It’s amazing how easily they hide those geniuses of technology. We never hear their names, see their faces, or even, in most cases, acknowledge they exist. Yet it is the knowledge, safety and connectivity solutions of automotive engineers that are helping save lives and helping make sure the rest of us don’t get h

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