Automobile engineering or automotive engineering is a branch of vehicle engineering which comprises aerospace and marine engineering. It incorporates elements of mechanical, electronic, electrical, software and safety engineering as applied to the design, manufacture, and operation of motorcycles, automobiles and trucks and their respective engineering subsystems. This engineering also includes modifying of various vehicles. The manufacturing domain of this engineering deals with the creation as well as assembling the entire parts of vehicles. This research-intensive field involves direct application of mathematical models and formulas. The study of automotive engineering is to design, develop, fabricate, and testing vehicles or vehicle components from the concept stage to the production stage. There are the three vital functions in this field: production, development, and manufacturing.
The field of automotive engineering has gained recognition and importance ever since motor vehicles become capable of transporting passengers. Because of the express growth of the manufacturers and automobile industries of auto component, there is a high demand for Automobile Engineers. It is one of the most challenging careers in the field of engineering with a wide scope.
This study is an introduction to vehicle engineering which deals with motorcycles, cars, buses, trucks, etc. Branch study of mechanical, electronic, software and safety elements is also included in it. Some of the attributes of engineering and disciplines that are of significance to the automotive engineer are:
Safety engineering: This is the assessment of many crash scenarios and their impact on the vehicle occupants. This is a very crucial aspect of, therefore, it is tested against very stringent governmental regulations. The requirements which are included in this aspect are a seat belt and airbag functionality testing, front and side impact testing, and tests of rollover resistance. By using various methods and tools, assessments of this aspect are done including Computer crash simulation (typically finite element analysis), crash test dummy, and partial system sled and full vehicle crashes.
Fuel economy/emissions: This aspect is the fuel efficiency of the vehicle which is measured in miles per gallon or kilometers per liter. Emissions testing comprises the measurement of vehicle emissions which includes hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), evaporative emissions, and carbon dioxide (CO2).
Noise, Vibration & Harshness engineering (NVH): This is the feedback of customers from the vehicle which can be both tactile and audible. This feedback is created by several components either rubbing, rotating, or vibrating. The response of this aspect can be classified in various ways: powertrain NVH, road noise, wind noise, component noise, and squeak and rattle.
Vehicle Electronics: This is an increasingly important aspect of automobile engineering. A dozen electronic systems are employed in modern vehicles. These systems are responsible for operational controls such as the throttle, brake and steering controls as well as many comfort and convenience systems such as the HVAC, infotainment, and lighting systems. It would impossible for vehicles to meet modern safety and fuel economy requirements without these electronic controls.
Performance: It is a measurable and testable value of the ability of vehicles in various conditions. This aspect can be considered in a wide range of tasks, but it's generally associated with how quickly a car can accelerate, its top speed, how short and quickly a vehicle can completely stop from a set speed, how much g-force a car without losing grip can generate, cornering speed, recorded lap times, brake fade, etc. This aspect can also reflect the amount of control in inclement weather like snow, rain, etc.
Shift quality: This is the perception of the driver of the vehicle to an automatic transmission shift event. This aspect is influenced by the vehicle and the powertrain. Shift feel is both a tactile and audible response of the vehicle.
Assembly feasibility: It is simple and easy to design a module but it is hard to assemble, either resulting in damaged units or poor tolerances. The skilled product development engineer works with the manufacturing engineers so that the resulting design is easy and cheap to make and assemble, as well as delivering appropriate functionality and appearance.
Quality management: This is a very important factor within the production process, as high quality is needed to meet the requirements of the customers and to avoid expensive recall campaigns. The complexity of the components involved in the production process requires a combination of different tools and techniques for quality control.
Other automotive engineers include those listed below:
•Aerodynamics engineers will often provide guidance to the styling studio so that the shapes designed by them are both aerodynamic and attractive.
•Change control engineers ensure that all of the changes of the design and manufacturing which occur are managed, organized, and implemented.
•NVH engineers perform sound and vibration testing to prevent loud cabin noises, detectable vibrations, and/or improve the sound quality while the vehicle is on the road.
This field provides a vast range of opportunities for the aspirants and it also includes production plants, automobile manufacturing industries, state road transport corporations, service stations, insurance companies, private transport companies, motor vehicle departments etc.
With the computer knowledge in CAD (Computer Aided Design), CAM (Automation), ERP, Automobile engineers can find employment in computer-aided industries as Designers or they can design models of vehicles by joining the Research and Development wing of companies. Diploma holders in Automobile engineering can start their own business enterprise like automobile maintenance workshop or automobile garages. Automobile maintenance Engineers are offered the post of general supervision of mechanics in a workshop, factory or garage. B. tech holders in automobile engineering with an MBA degree could reach the frontline in marketing management careers. Candidates with a masters degree and with 5 years experience in teaching at the graduate level or industrial experience in a reputed firm can get employment as a lecturer. Ph.D. degree holders in Automobile Engineering can work as a researcher or scientist and can further help in the development of the field.
By: Preeti Narula
Posted By - Assistant Editor