Studies & Degrees in Automotive Technology
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Automotive Technology Study Programs
On the topic which is the greatest invention of all time, a lot of people would argue that it is perhaps the automobile that has made the greatest impact in human lives. Some would argue it is the computer and some would argue it is the gun but perhaps James Bond would claim that his car has a computer and guns in it. Kidding aside, whatever it is, the automobile is an essential part of human lives and that humans cannot do without them.
The invention of cars brought about the automotive industry. The automotive industry is among those industries that are technology driven and competition is among the fiercest. When one car maker makes an innovation and got good market response, chances are all the other automakers would follow suit. Just to illustrate, when the airbags were introduced as a safety feature by Ford and Chrysler in the mid 80’s, all other car makers also fitted their cars with airbags and now it became a standard safety feature. Anticipating that the car market is responsive to technological improvements, it is certain that the technology adopted would be those that can be appreciated by the motoring public. At present, Automotive Technology is focused heavily in developing environmental friendly cars. Car makers are currently rushing to produce the first car that would not depend on traditional fuels and is not expensive to produce. Right now, prototypes have been unveiled but the question still remains if these prototypes can be massed produced at a cost that could translate to profits in the long run. Among the prototypes unveiled recently are cars running on electric power. Electric cars however cannot still match the versatility of gasoline and diesel powered cars when it comes to speed and acceleration which the market are looking for in a car. As, still, they are business outfits, technology can only go so far as long as profits are achievable.
Automotive Technology is really a vast area of study as airbags technology alone could very well be a field on its own. However, the term Automotive Technology, more or less, should refer to common areas of innovations like the engine, traction, aerodynamics of the car, safety features, brake system, transmission, fuel economy and even the paints used can be an area of innovation.
In the movies, Automotive Technology has contributed to the overall sales of a movie. People are always enthralled to see what trick James Bond’s car will do every time there’s a new James Bond flick. When the sleekness of the new Batmobile was shown on the movie trailers of “Batman” starring Michael Keaton some years back, fans could not help but fall in line on movie premiers. Another notable car is the one used in “Back to the Future” where the car runs on refuse. Although, cars in the silver screen were thought out from the imagination of writers, it cannot be helped noticing that the technology movies wants us to believe then are actually coming to pass. Tracking systems seen from James Bond movies, where he follows his enemies to their lair is perhaps the only technology applicable to everyday driving and is currently actually in use. Cars with ejector seats, retractable guns and jet-like propulsion were all seen first from movies but suffice to say it’s pointless to have these cars for normal driving.
Automotive Technology is still a rough industry as room for innovation is enormous. Those who want to get in into Automotive Technology can never have a better timing than now as courses specializing in this field are now available at leading universities.
Job positions for Automotive Technology:
F1 Technical Director
If there is one application of Automotive Technology, that would have to be in the formula one racing, the premier auto racing league in the planet. Normally, an F1 team would be composed of a team manager, the drivers, the technical support staff and the pit crew. However, the personnel normally seen on TV are usually just the race day crew which would number to around 40 to 60 including the drivers and manager.
What people don’t usually know is that there are automotive engineers working behind the scenes to improve the performance of the car come the next race day or the next season. The big budgeted teams like Renault-F1 employ around 260 total personnel. Majority of the personnel of an F1 team like Renault-F1 would likely be under the development team and would be reporting under the Technical Director since the pit crew would number to only just about 40.
The Technical Director of a formula one team would be in-charge of all aspects of the car that has anything to do with performance and integrity of the cars. The appearance of an F1 car would be credited as per to the advise of a Technical Director. How much the car should weigh, the power output the engines should rev up, the protrusions (spoilers, side skirts, front and rear wings) and everything else about the car except the sponsor logos and the paint. Reviewing of technological developments is among the duties of a Technical Director. Like in the ongoing 2009 season, the technology of KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) is being reviewed if indeed they are added value to a car’s performance. Currently, not all teams are using KERS since some drivers are winning races even without KERS installed on them. During race day, the Technical Director would be the man to ask questions to if the drivers has special concerns like, for example, 3rd gear is not working and the driver is just 5 laps away from finishing the race, the Technical Director would give advice if the car can possibly finish the race and still earn points or if it is better to let the car retire for the day.
Needless to say how important Technical Directors are especially now that even small details matter. This season, surprisingly, the McLarens and Ferraris, who are perennial favorites, are among the bottom dwellers whereas last year they were battling tooth and nail for the coveted championship title because Team Brawn GP and Team Red Bull made significant changes on their diffusers and are now leading in the race standings. After the first set of races proving that the diffusers are the ones making wonders for the current top teams, it did not take long before other teams copied or adjusted their diffuser settings and somehow are now keeping at pace with the current leaders.
To become a Technical Director for an F1 team, it is for sure a difficult path as there are only a number of F1 teams around. However, those passionate about cars and technology can start realizing their dreams of being an F1 Technical Director by first enrolling in courses related to it like automotive technology or mechanical engineering. As they say, a journey starts with a single step