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Why You Should Study Automotive Engineering in the UK

Why You Should Study Automotive Engineering in the UK main image

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With one car rolling off the production line every 18 seconds, the UK’s automotive industry is the third-largest producer of cars in Europe, behind Germany and Spain. When it comes to deciding what the cars of the future will look like, this high level of productivity means UK , automakers and engineering companies will take a leading role in innovating and designing the sustainable vehicles of the future.

This is why there's never been a better time for talented graduates such as yourself to join the automotive industry, as fresh vacancies open with British design consultancies, car makers and manufacturers virtually every week.

Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and its industry partners at the University of Warwick conduct world-leading research into battery technologies and lightweight materials, which consider the environmental impact of automotive engineering.

Their , which was recently awarded a £20 million grant from the government, focuses on ways to improve the energy density, cost and recyclability of .

Designing the

What will the car of the future look like? That's the question researchers at WMG are attempting to answer, with the help of ground-breaking research in the areas of intelligent vehicles, energy systems and advanced propulsion systems at the new National Automotive Research Centre.

A £150m project, the National Automotive Innovation Centre will soon open its doors at the University of Warwick, bringing together 1,000 scientists, engineers, academics and support staff from around the world to design sustainable vehicles of the future.

Run in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, Tata and WMG, the National Automotive Innovation Centre is also carrying out groundbreaking new research into commercializing smart connected vehicles. These could be the answer to some of the biggest issues facing the automotive industry, from road congestion to CO2 emissions.

The biggest industry-wide shake up since the Model T

What, exactly, are smart vehicles you ask? Well, UK experts anticipate that will be the biggest change to transportation since Henry Ford invented the Model T in 1908, the first affordable car built on an assembly line, and will bring the British economy £51bn a year by 2030.

Every year, more than one million people die in fatal crash accidents on the roads, with more than 90 percent of these crashes caused by human mistakes. Smart vehicles offer the possibility to remove these human errors, from slow reaction times to struggling in low visibility or falling asleep at the wheel.

It’s not just road safety which is likely to improve with driverless cars, as smart vehicles have the potential to help the environment too. At the moment, passenger vehicles account for 60 percent of the world’s surface transport carbon dioxide emissions, and there are currently 1.2bn motor vehicles on the world’s roads today, a number predicted to rise to over two billion in the next 20 years. Smart vehicles should be able to help tackle this issue, however, by optimising routes based on real-time traffic data. As a result, road congestion and fuel consumption will both be reduced.

With benefits like these, you’d think there’d be relatively few obstacles preventing smart vehicles from hitting the roads, but the biggest barrier to them becoming a reality isn’t actually technology: it’s people. Unfortunately, the issue of machine-human interaction and trust is still a major hurdle to clear. A recent survey by IPSOS and Reuters found that two-thirds of respondents were uncomfortable with the idea of self-driving cars.

One reason for these lingering trust issues is that, while driverless cars may make the roads safer, they are unfortunately susceptible to hacking. These issues will need to be ironed out before autonomous vehicles can finally hit the road, and a technical infrastructure will have to be put in place to support driverless technologies and machine intelligence.

Talented graduates are needed to overcome these obstacles, but unfortunately there’s an industry-wide skills shortage, with nearly two-thirds of employers in the sector reporting in a 2015 survey that recruitment of graduates is their biggest challenge. Given this, any graduate with expertise in or would be in a unique position to take on a leadership role in a prestigious automotive company or research center. So, will it be you?

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