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 hopelessly lost on the way to that next great adventure — at least not too often.

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V8 Cars – Some Wonderful History of the Mighty V8 Automotive Engine

Have you read the latest Wheel’s magazine? The January 2010 edition has a wonderful section on the wonderful history of the V8 engine that we know and love today. I will share some of the hi-lights from the magazine as well as my own personal comments, so read on…

The automotive vee-eight as we know it had its birth with our friend Henry Ford with the arrival of the ‘L-Head’ flat head vee eight of 1932. We must remember that he was not responsible for inventing the 8 cylinder engine in the V format as we know and love. But he was responsible for ensuring that it was available to the masses, ie the likes of you and me! It was pretty basic and simple, no complicated overhead valves or the like, hence the term ‘flathead’.

A company called Duesenberg, back in the 20′s had a straight 8 cylinder engine and this was probably the first mass produced 8 cylinder automotive engine (it also had fancy overhead cams and multi-valves!). Unfortunately the company did not stand the test of time.

Some suggest that the longest ‘living’ V8 engine is the 6.75 litre V8 belonging to our British friends Roll-Royce and Bentley. Based on an American design it was released in the 1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (as a 6.2 litre with OHV and 90 degrees V angle). Later it was enlarged to its current size of 6.75 litres and continues in production today inspiring Bentleys.

Of course technology has allowed the V8 to develop just like all things automotive and we now have every V8 arrangement possible across the automotive spectrum. Usually only limited by our imagination (and our wallet). Turbocharging/supercharging, direct injection, mulit-variable valve technology along with massaging of the engine ancillaries are all available on your Ferrari down to your humble home grown Falcon or Commodore.

All of this of course means that you can be kind to the environment and own a V8. I drive 350K’s to my daughters farm from Kwinana south of Perth and get better than 11l/100kms cruising at 110 with the safety of better braking and handling and the ability to safely overtake slower vehicles. So it is V8′s til 2028 at least. Enjoy your V8!

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Automotive Engineering: A Way to a Successful Career

One of the best courses nowadays is automotive engineering. It involves examining the operating standards of vehicles. It may also comprise of proficiency management, mechanical system, hydraulic system and electrical processes. Since the industry of automotive is quickly growing, there are several people who want to have a degree program in automotive courses.

Some of the degree programs of automotive engineering offer lots of courses in mechanical engineering and automotive design engineering. The colleges that offer this kind of course give direct application and hands-on training for an array of careers in the industry. This course specializes in the field of vehicle engineering and it can be divided into three main fields of study. The three main fields of this course are manufacturing, development and production.

Manufacturing engineers are those involved in making and building different automobiles, while development engineers are those who were involved on the different attributes of a sedan that includes speed, durability and performance. On the other hand, production engineers focus more on the design systems and components of a vehicle. It also involves designing and testing of the vehicles’ parts and includes coordinating tests to make sure that all automobiles meet the national standards set by the government.

Automotive engineers have several responsibilities and job description that they need to comply with after completing all their trainings. As they finished the degree program of this course, engineers can now design the car’s systems and components. They also need to determine the best attributes for a specific sedan or for a future vehicle.

They also need to develop codes and standards for a well-organized manufacturing. Automotive engineers must determine the costs and implement the procedures to lessen the production costs. They are also expected to introduce and develop new strategies and systems for the production of automotives. In addition, they also need to make sure that they follow the government regulations during the process of the making a vehicle.

Aside from developing and designing, they also need to determine the drive ability of the each vehicle. They also need to implement quality procedures and control strategies. When there is a problem, they also need to solve all the troubles in automotive engineering. Lastly, they must conduct statistical analysis as required. All the graduates from this course can have several career options like vehicle manufacturing engineer, operations research, systems engineer, vehicle dynamics controller, performance engineer, noise, vibration and harshness engineer (NVH), emissions controller or research and safety engineering.

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Automotive Engineering Jobs

Knowledge Requirements
Automotive engineering encompasses mechanical and structural engineering and requires those working within the field to apply the principles of several scientific disciplines. These include physics, structural design, and materials analysis. Automotive engineering jobs also require a strong understanding of manufacturing principles and mechanical system design and operation methods.

These engineers may also need to be knowledgeable in several other areas of engineering, including safety, power, electronics, and software. Many engineers working in the automotive field will specialize in a particular area, allowing them to become experts in their realm. This often results in higher pay and better job security.

Project Leaders
Some of the most well educated, experiences, and skilled automotive engineers are those who are able to oversee projects in new business or product development. These automotive engineering jobs are responsible to leading a design, engineering and manufacturing team that take new products from conceptualization through production. Such engineering roles are highly compensated in the marketplace and also require candidates to have strong “soft” skills in addition to technical know-how.

Communication and leadership are among the soft skills necessary for engineers to be successful in overseeing team-based automotive engineering development projects. While the job market is jam packed with highly skilled technical engineers, it is a wide open playing field for those with a more well-rounded skill set.

Specialties in the Field
There are a number of specialized automotive engineering jobs to be found in the field. These positions may focus on a particular kind of system, structure or function of vehicles, or it may be a certain subset of vehicles.

For example, an automotive engineer may specialize in the design of vehicle bodies, in which case he or she would be required to possess superior knowledge of structural design principles. Or, the engineer may specialize in the development of guidance or navigation systems, in which case he or she would need to be quite knowledgeable in computer science and software applications.

Those engineering jobs that specialize in vehicle subsets may include the design, development, and manufacture of passenger or commercial, land-based transportation vehicles. The engineer may be an expert on passenger or transportation trains, motorcycles, school or public transit buses, passenger cars, or military transport vehicles.

Regardless of the area in which the engineer specializes, he or she may also be an expert within that particular subsector of the automotive engineering field. This means that there are highly knowledgeable engineers who are able to design and develop new components, structures and systems for a specific kind of vehicle. For example, there are automotive engineering jobs that work only with the guidance systems found in military transport vehicles.

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