Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Are Automotive MPG Regulations Killing Car Innovation for the Consumer

Should lawmakers, and the Obama Administration increase regulations on the miles per gallon that each individual car gets? Some automobile designers are complaining because if the cars have to get really good gas mileage, then there are only a few types of designs that cars can possibly have. A teardrop shaped car would get the best gas mileage above about 55 miles per hour. But if every car looks the same, then no one will have a car with any individuality that the person can stake their claim too.
In other words every BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, GM, Chrysler, Tata, or BYD will all basically look the same. The chance for individual differentiation by any one car maker basically goes out the window. There was an interesting article not long ago on WardsAuto Auto Industry Online News Website which asked a tough question; "Are Aerodynamic Requirements Killing Automotive Design" written by Byron Pope and published on June 20, 2011.
After I read this article, I decided to make a comment about it, and as I was preparing my outline to create this article, I noticed that in the news today, June 27, 2011 - the Obama Administration has asked for more regulation, and potential legislation to require that all automobiles by the year 2025 maintain an average of 52.5 miles per gallon.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

How to Become a Car Designer - Where to Start

Before pursuing a design career, my first thought was "I want to become a car designer - but how do I start? To those who are asking themselves this exact question, here are a few tips:
More specifically, take drawing classes at your local college. Take as many classes as needed until you are comfortable drawing objects straight from your head. Take classes like:
- Sketching, Still Life
- Figure drawing (This helps with speed and form development especially with cars.)
- Perspective drawing (I cannot emphasize enough how important this is, perspective is as important to a designer as sentences are to a writer. Learn it-learn to love it.)
More Tips:
- If you sketch in pencil, retrace the same drawing on a separate sheet of paper in pen. Continue with this exercise until you are confident enough to sketch in pen. Most professionals sketch entirely in pen.
- Always carry a small sketchbook (I use Moleskine) or folded copy paper and a pen with you at all times.
- Several times a day, practice by sketching the first object you see in front of you.
- Fill the entire page of your sketchbook- blank space on a page is the enemy.
- For the aspiring car designers, purchase a scale model of a car, set it in front of you and draw it in various angles. Draw is exactly as you see it-don't cheat by only drawing the side view!
Learn to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Painter. This is the standard rendering program for the design industry. The more comfortable you become with these programs, the stronger of a designer you will become.
Purchase a Wacom Tablet. This is also an essential tool in the design industry. This tool is much more efficient than a mouse for rendering and you will be less likely to suffer from carpel tunnel due to prolonged use. Initially, it will be a bit awkward to use, but it becomes more fun as you get used to it, I promise.

Friday, March 1, 2013

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.