Automotive Engineering
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The Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Enzo, Pagani Zonda, Koenigsegg, Porsche Carrera, Mercedes SLR McLaren, Maybach, Rolls-Royce Phantom, Lamborghini Murcielago & Aston Martin Vanquish- no marks for guessing what these are!

These are the most expensive, most powerful, and the fastest production cars in the world. Now hold your breath for the next piece of information! The cost of these cars is between $1,700,000 and $255,000. If you haven’t fainted yet, read on!

Automotive engineering is a branch of vehicle engineering which incorporates elements of mechanical, electrical, electronic, software and safety engineering. These elements are applied to the design, manufacture and operation of motorcycles, automotives, buses and trucks and their respective engineering subsystems.

There are mainly three types of automotive engineers:

Design Engineers- who design cars and are familiar with the intricate details of the hydraulic, electrical, and mechanical systems inside a vehicle.

Development Engineers- who research on all the cool stuff that makes our future automotives worth waiting for.

Production Engineers- work in car factories to make sure the process of manufacture goes smoothly.

More about Automotive Engineering

Study Duration and Best Countries to Study

Automotive engineers use their knowledge of fluid dynamics and materials science to develop new vehicles which perform better while being safer, as well as being more efficient and cheaper. Car designers frequently develop specialties in Automotive Engineering for design improvement in matters like noise, vibration and handling, safety, or emissions control.

USA- The United States automotive industry is the strongest in the world and so are the schools for automotive engineering. In fact, some universities are even working on making fuel caps that prevent you from putting the wrong kind of gas into your car and keypad locks that are invisible until you touch them. The Cornell University, University of Texas at Austin, Ohio State University and the Stevens Institute of Technology offer 4 years BS courses in automotive engineering. The average fee for studying these courses is between $25,000 and $46,000 per annum.

UK- The automotive industry in the United Kingdom is best known for its premium and sports cars including Aston Martin, Bentley, Daimler, Jaguar, Lagonda, Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren, MG, Mini, Morgan and Rolls-Royce. There are also many volume car manufacturers with a major presence in the UK including Ford, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Vauxhall Motors (owned by General Motors). That makes UK the second best place to study automotive engineering. University of Warwick, University of Bath, Loughborough University and Coventry University are some of the best universities which offer 3 to 4 years courses BEng and BEng (Honours) courses. The course fee is around 11,000 to 15,000 pounds per annum.

India-Universities and colleges in India offer BE, B.Tech, diploma and certificate programmes in automotive engineering. You must start your academic career in Science at the intermediate level i.e. plus two (with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics). After completion of plus two or class 12 in science stream, you will have to appear for entrance examinations conducted both at national and state level (e.g. IITJEE, AIEEE, BITSAT etc.). BE/BTech course in automotive engineering are offered by the NITs, Birla institute of Technology, Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University) and College of Engineering and Technology (Anna University).These courses are for a duration of 4 years and students have to spend Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 2,00,000 per annum. You can also opt for a diploma programme after completion of his/her class 10th. In this case, you will only be recognised as a junior engineer. However there are very few institutions offering diploma programs in automotive engineering.

What do people from such field get trained to do:

Automotive engineers are usually so fascinated with cars that they are more likely to fall in love with a car, than with a person of the opposite sex. Besides, even if they manage to find a date, they would bug their date with conversations about cars, engines, speed, load etc. Wonder if they ever get a second date with the same person!

Anyways, an automotive engineer’s main duty is to design, test and develop vehicles. The vehicles, post the launch in the market also needs upgrades. Automotive engineers are therefore also responsible for making changes in the vehicle based on customers' feedback.

Automotive engineers are primarily trained to:

  1. Design new vehicles or revise existing ones
  2. Research and develop in finding solutions to engineering problems
  3. Plan and design new vehicles.

Besides this, automotive engineers also develop new test procedures for the vehicles, using both conventional and innovative methods. They also analyse and interpret technical data into reports or presentations, and answer all questions.

Sounds like an awesome job!

Do international options open up in this field or largely local options?

What is common between movies like 'Gone in sixty seconds' and 'Fast & furious five'?

These are movies for hardcore car fans. There are more good looking cars in the movies than the total number of women. Plus, they cruise on the road almost at the speed of light. That’s some rush!

Because of the overall increase in the number of vehicles, the demand for qualified and skilled automotive engineers has also increased in recent times. Automotive engineers can find the best jobs in the automotive manufacturing industries. You can also find work in service stations, private transport companies and Defence Services.

There are plenty of job opportunities both in India as well as in foreign countries including the Middle East where the pay scale is good.

What are the job and career prospects after completing the courses in this field?

Automotive engineers are specialists who are experts in diverse areas including aerodynamics, crash safety, handling, power generation and suspension. Some automotive engineers have a high-level focus and instead specialise in the relationships between the various components of a modern automotive.

As an automotive engineer, you could choose to be:

  • Engineering Technicians
  • Safety Engineering
  • Emissions Research
  • NVH ( Noise, Vibration and Harshness) Engineers
  • Performance Engineer
  • Vehicle Dynamics Controller
  • Operations Research
  • Designing

Many automotive engineers choose to join the defence services. Alternatively, you can work as a lecturer or professor in engineering colleges/universities in India and abroad.

For those who have the desire to study further can pursue MTech and PhD programmes. By doing so, you can become a researcher or scientist and further help in the development of the field.

What kind of companies do you work for?

What do Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Mitsubishi do?

Easy! They make the best cars in the world.

If you are an automotive engineer, companies like Honda, Audi, Skoda etc offers an awesome pay along with several perks. Also, with so many foreign automotive companies like Volkswagen, Audi, Renault etc targeting India as a base for manufacturing cars, the scope for a career in Automotive Industry has risen rapidly.

In India, automotive engineering graduates are hired as Supplier Warranty Recovery Specialists, Underbody Engineers, Senior Production Engineers, Quality Engineers, Mechanical Design Engineers and Driver Instrumentation Engineers in the following automotive manufacturing companies:

  • L & T
  • Ashok Leyland
  • Mahindra & Mahindra
  • Bajaj Auto
  • Gabriel

There are plenty of employment opportunities for qualified people and they can select a career in Automotive Industry, which leads to a bright future.

Is it necessary to be a part of a firm or can one be an entrepreneur?

You love vehicles but you don’t like to work for someone else. No problem!

As an automotive engineer you don’t have to worry about hierarchy or reporting. Self-employment is completely possible. You can set up an automotive garage or maintenance workshop, or you could simply get an auto dealership of your favourite vehicle. Imagine being a Volkswagen dealer! Sell the cars and drive them too. In fact, you could simply spend the entire day looking at the cars if you wish to. How cool is that!

What is the remuneration like?

An automotive engineer gets paid at par with other engineers. A fresh graduate in automotive engineering usually gets a starting monthly salary of Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000. Students from well-known technological institutions like IITs, NITs, and BITS get a much higher pay package. The remuneration increases with increase in experience and expertise. Following is the average salary levels for automotive engineers based on their years of experience:

Experience in Years Compensation per annum
0 to 5 years 1.8 lakh to 5 lakhs
6 to 10 years 5 to 8 lakhs
11 to 15 years 8 to 15 lakhs
15 years 15 lakhs and above

What subjects can I not study if I choose this field?

Automotive engineering is about designing, maintenance and production of buses, trucks, cars, etc….essentially of anything that moves and has wheels (bullock carts are exceptions)

But if you ever change your mind, you sure need to know your options. You can study any other course of engineering or anything that requires you to have science subjects as your prerequisites.

What you might have trouble relating with are subjects like Fashion Designing, Hotel Management, Law or Economics. Again, it’s more about the aptitude that you don’t have for a subject rather than the eligibility since if you have Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology in your 10+2; you are pretty much eligible for studying all courses.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of making a career in this field?

The automotive industry has grown since the end of the Second World War. Vehicles are now a necessity in the modern world. These are used to transport people and goods to various places. Naturally, the automobile industry has come up in a big way.

Following are some of the advantages of being an automotive engineer:

  • You get to design the car that you want to drive.
  • You also get paid loads of money for doing your job. (A job you would have probably taken even if they didn’t pay you.)
  • You get to test drive a lot of cars as a part of your work. (Something that others can only dream of!)

Following are some of the disadvantages of being an automotive engineer:

  • You have to always stay physically fit, since your job requires you to work with heavy tools and equipments.
  • The job can sometimes be stressful because of long work hours
  • The job requires you to do a lot of paperwork, something which is not commonly known to everyone.

The oil problem has been creating some worry amongst vehicle manufacturers around the world. So now there are cars which work on electricity and alternative fuel like sugar cane oil. So even when there are disadvantages or hurdles; there are always innovative methods of overcoming them.

Describe the ideal personality and skills sets needed to be successful in this field?

As a child, were cars you favourite toys? And what did you do with them? Did you drive them around or did you break them into pieces in an attempt to put them back together. It’s time to chase your dream.

Following are the qualities and the skill sets needed to be an automotive engineer:

  • A strong interest in motor vehicle engineering and design
  • Good analytical skills and an innovative approach to problem solving
  • Excellent mathematical skills and technical knowhow
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • Good organisational skills
  • Good team player team and accountable.

If you wanna live life in the fast lane, this is the right track for you. Happy motoring!

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