Automotive engineers working to improve the way we drive and live

Automotive Engineers Working to Improve the Way We Drive and Live

Today’s automotive engineers are focusing their attention on improving the way we drive — and the way we live. Some automotive improvements make life easier to navigate, like GPS systems with visual and voice-guided turn-by-turn directions. Other innovations help protect vehicle occupants and save lives, such as “active safety” technologies, which warn drivers so they can take action to avoid an accident. Of course, yet another focus of automotive engineers, garnering much attention today, is improved fuel efficiency. Green vehicles are catching the attention of consumers rapidly. To meet this demand, nearly every automaker in the world is expanding with clean, fuel-efficient models in their lineup.

Automotive engineering today focuses on utilizing a range of technologies to improve fuel economy. Not a day goes by when automotive engineers are not working toward the development of new and improved fuel technologies. As part of the quest for fuel-efficient technology, current hybrid vehicle systems are constantly being evaluated and expanded. For example, many automakers are now creating integrated high-tech hybrids.

The concept of the high-tech hybrid vehicle makes more sense if we consider the challenges faced by automotive engineers. Automotive engineers must find creative and cost-effective ways to integrate hybrid systems, helping original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) increase efficiency and provide value to the consumer. For example, cars do not need to use combustion engines; it is just that — at least in the mass market — they always have used them. In the face of new technologies, the classic combustion engine seems poised for change — especially when we realize that automotive engineers are successfully expanding hybrid technology. It is this new technology that increases the feasibility of mass manufacturing hybrids for the general public. When designing the new high-tech hybrid models, automotive engineers depend on the best thermal management components, electronic/electrical powertrain systems and wiring architecture. The key is to leverage industry leaders with the extensiveness and depth of systems integration and power electronics proficiency to provide this advanced technology.

With rising oil prices, power electronics awareness is gaining popularity with both consumers and vehicle manufacturers. Hybrid vehicles are hitting the streets in North America, helping drivers save money on the cost of operating vehicles. Consumers understand that hybrids offer significant advantages, such as fuel efficiency and low cost per mile in addition to environmental benefits. If nothing else, high-tech hybrid technology — and the willingness to liberate it — may reduce dependence on fossil fuels and help decrease emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone precursors.

As if this were not enough motivation, there are a variety of mechanisms and sources at work to excite the green car industry even further. In one example, an organization is on the hunt for a car that achieves fuel economy in excess of 100 miles per gallon without sacrificing key capabilities. The fuel-efficient prototype must be able to carry four passengers on varying terrain, pass federal crash and emissions guidelines and yield sales profitability in a volume of 10,000 units or more.

Indeed, there is plenty of encouragement in today’s society for increased fuel efficiency and green cars. Consumers, environmentalists, economists and technologists are all eager for new automotive technology. Thankfully, some of our best and brightest automotive engineers are working to answer the call successfully. After all, improving the way we drive and live today is only part of the equation. These new technologies will also serve future generations.

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