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:
Automotive engineers 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:
Auto Parts Design:
In 2007, the International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a final decision finding three Ford design patents invalid based on a prior public use. The patents relate to various parts of its F-150 truck design. Ford had asked the ITC to stop generic parts manufacturers from imports of the patented designs that were flowing in from Taiwan. In its decision, the ITC found seven of the design patents valid and infringed, but found that three of them were invalid.
research and development:
The R&D efforts of the automotive industry are primarily focused on technologies that will make the automobile as environmentally compatible, as economical, and as safe as possible, goals which are the focus of both the vehicle manufactures and many of their leading suppliers.
In fact many innovations introduced in cars and trucks have come from supplier companies, including electronic fuel injection, anti-lock braking systems (ABS), auto-dimming mirrors, electronic stability control, and a host of others. One of the keys to survival for any medium- to large-size auto parts supplier is innovation, either an improvement or significant refinement to an existing system or introduction of a totally new concept or technology. A major emphasis in the early years of the twenty-first century was to make vehicles more environmentally compatible by reducing exhaust emissions and improving fuel mileage.
In the automotive industry, the very early stage of the product development process is especially intuitive and dynamic – it’s the time to collect ideas, conduct product and process engineering, build the prototype, and launch the product into the marketplace. This phase requires flexible tools such as powerful document management and collaboration systems that can handle a large number of people, who are often in remote locations, and high volume of content. The integration of these tools into this process is critical, since time to market, ease of collaboration, and quality improvement are critical aspects of product development.