what is automotive engineering

What is Automotive Engineering?

AEHQ Introduction to Automotive Engineering 5 Comments

What is an automotive engineer?

Well, to figure it out we should probably start with what an engineer is:

Dictionary.com defines engineering as:

“The art or science of making practical application of the knowledge of pure sciences, as physics or
chemistry, as in the construction of engines, bridges, buildings, mines, ships, and chemicals.”

Well that seems pretty broad, and I am not sure who thought “mines” deserved a call-out amongst the more common things that are constructed. That being said, the title I think best sums up an engineer is:

Engineer = Technical Problem Solver

An engineer is someone who uses technical skills and calculations to solve an issue. The issue could be something that is a large ongoing problem, or it can be improvement to something. Either way – the engineer’s goal is to add technical value to a product or process.

For automotive engineers the focus is primarily on land vehicles. Cars, Motorcycles, Four Wheelers, 18 Wheelers, and even industrial equipment are included on this list. Pretty much every vehicle that doesn’t fly, float, or ride on rails can be wrapped into automotive engineering. (There are many exceptions to that as well!) The field is so large that it commonly overlaps with many other industries, including construction, aerospace, and the military.

Bottom Line: An automotive engineer is someone who uses their technical skills and knowledge to solve problems in the automotive industry.

But what kind of problems?

Even if you are an automotive engineer you probably take for granted the incredibly complex piece of machinery that sits in your driveway. Your car is a people mover, ecosystem, navigation machine, coffee house, music hall, and meeting room all wrapped up in a tight package. Looking at any part of the car, you can see the result of years of decisions and improvements on everything. From your transmission to your floor mats, Automotive Engineers put in thousands of hours of thought into your car.

Take your rear window for example:

  • This is a simple part that you don’t think much about much. However, automotive engineers designed your rear window to create a specific amount of drag, while making sure that acoustically, the car is quieter.
  • The piece of glass also contains your rear defroster, which is a tiny resistor that heats up to melt the ice off the back so you can still see if it’s snowing.
  • There are seals that are surrounding the window that make sure it stays on your car. However if you crack it, these seals need to be able to be removed and reapplied so the car can be fixed.
  • Speaking of cracks, the glass was specifically designed so that in the event of an accident it will break up into small beads. This is designed to avoid shards that can injure the passenger.
  • Since your car is one of a few hundred thousand, this piece of glass needs to be made in a process that can handle thousands per day.
  • Despite all of the design requirements – the window must be made using the lowest cost possible, while maintaining all original design requirements.
  • Each piece needs to be controlled and made in the same way, despite all of the small details that could go wrong in the process.
  • This production process also need to be tested and regulated to ensure that safety and design considerations are always being met within the high volume process.
  • Each piece of glass might be off by about a millimeter or so in width so there are engineers responsible to make sure that the glass will always fit the car.
  • The producer of this glass needs to make sure that they make the glass correctly every single time, or they will waste millions of dollars in scrap.
  • The glass needs to maintain all design, safety, and manufacturing requirements and ship to the customer without breaking.

Now, that is just for your back windshield. I can’t even begin to start on how much engineering goes into the engine because I would be writing this for a week.

Automotive modern motorcycle engine3 main groups of Automotive Engineers

As you can see there is a diverse group of automotive engineers needed for every vehicle out there. On this site, I will inform you about the different types of engineers in 3 broad groups:

Each of these groups is responsible for different stages of a part’s lifecycle; however each team needs to work consistently with the others to make sure that the part or vehicle can to the customer get on the road. For example: The design engineers are always working with the manufacturing engineers to make sure the parts can be manufactured properly. The manufacturing engineers need to work with the quality department to ensure that the process they designed is repeatable and stable. And so on…

Automotive engineering is a very intense but extremely rewarding career. Getting into automotive engineering is very exciting.  There are many perks that come along with being in this industry and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

What is automotive engineering?  Its awesome – that’s what it is.

So, do you want to get into automotive engineering? Find out what a typical automotive engineer does all day

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