Automotive engineers are involved in the design, manufacture and operation of ground-based vehicles, such as motorcycles, automobiles, buses and trucks and their respective engineering subsystems.
They are involved in the whole product design lifecycle from the initial concept through to delivery, but generally work in one of three main areas:
research and development;
Engineers in this field need to have a combination of engineering and commercial skills in order to deliver projects within budget. Once established, they usually specialise in a particular area, for example structural design, exhaust systems or engines.
Typical work activities
Automotive engineers usually specialise in a particular area of work. However, typical work activities may include:
designing and producing visual interpretations of automobiles and their components using computer-aided design packages;
deciding on the most appropriate materials for component production;
applying mechanical, thermodynamic, pneumatic, hydraulic and electrical principles to resolve engineering problems and find appropriate solutions;
building prototypes of components, developing test procedures and conducting tests using software packages and physical testing methods;
innovating, researching and developing new designs for components on automobiles and for manufacturing procedures, with consideration to changing customer needs and government emissions regulations.
preparing material, cost and timing estimates, reports and design specifications;
studying the energy, environmental and safety aspects of the planned work;
supervising and inspecting the installation, modification and commissioning of mechanical systems in industrial facilities or plants;
investigating mechanical failures or unexpected maintenance problems;
supervising technicians, technologists and other engineers, and reviewing and approving designs, calculations and cost estimates;
liaising with suppliers and handling supply chain management issues;
taking responsibility for individual projects, managing associated budgets, production schedules and resources (including staff), and supervising quality control;
inspecting and even test driving vehicles and checking for faults.
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