Planning my undergrad degree: Mechanical or Automotive Engg

I do have plans to pursue my post-graduation in Germany, after I complete my under graduate degree.

BHPian saikishor recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

So to start off, I recently passed out of 12th and am currently preparing for my competitive exams. I have decided to pursue Mechanical Engineering primarily to get into the automobile industry. But after some research, my Dad suggested me to pursue Automobile engineering, as Mechanical will not go deeply into automobiles. Thing is, very few colleges in India offer Automobile engineering and I am completely unaware of which one to get into. I do have plans to pursue my post-graduation in Germany after I complete my under graduate degree. What better place to ask about an Automobile Engineering college than Team-BHP.

I stay in Hyderabad, and I found that only two colleges offer Automobile engineering.

I really need your valuable and elaborate suggestions regarding the aforementioned. Even a small piece of information will really help me a lot.

Here’s what BHPian vigsom had to say on the matter:

I’d urge you not to take up automobile engineering, but look at Mechatronics, Electrical, Electronics as options. Basis of this suggestion is as follows:

  • Automobiles are gradually getting more electronic and mechatronic
  • The syllabus in the current automobile engineering courses in India might most likely be vintage, with no focus on future tech. Doing this course might limit the options you will have before you to pursue your post-graduation in.
  • Keep yourself future ready for electric cars and technological advancements therein
  • The only “mechanical” bits that will remain are transmission, chassis, suspension and some of the steering system. Basics of these can be easily grasped with the amount of information available on line
  • There is a severe dearth of knowledgeable professionals in automotive fault diagnosis and rectification in today’s technologically better vehicles – aim to become one who can not just be that all-rounder but also create all-rounders

Essence of my suggestions – think big, think far, look 30 years ahead!

Here’s what BHPian landcruiser123 had to say on the matter:

Deep into automobile means R & D to me. So here’s a (slightly-biased) perspective.

With all due respect, most of what you learn from automobile engineering degrees in India is probably going to be decades-old technology. With due respect to all engineers, I assume you don’t want to be that guy who is designing a slightly improved suspension for the next-gen sedan with the criteria that it should:

  • Be more compact (to improve the boot space by 25 litres)
  • Sags a little lesser under full load (to cope with the 50mm wheelbase increase.)

Trust me when I say this – I know what I’m talking about given my FSAE experience. I know people of all ages (20s to 50s) actively working (on)/managing such projects day in day out.

^^ My sincere apologies if I come across as demeaning.

I did my undergrad in mechanical engineering (and moved away to Industrial Engineering for my MS.) I’ve got a lot of friends who are working on cutting-edge tech at Tesla, and other high-value (on paper!?!?!) self-driving car start-ups in the American and European continent. If you want to be on the cutting edge of technology, here are some potential pathways: (very simplified answers though)

Mechanical Engineering

  • Thermodynamics – very hot (pun intended) with all the battery management tech that is coming up; Also, there are flow batteries which is a technology still in the labs
  • Solid Mechanics (structure & crash safety): Not so sexy anymore as updates are largely incremental
  • Dynamics (suspension, steering, braking, etc): Again, not too many revolutionary technologies here.
  • Mechatronics is a highly desired skill.

Electrical engineering: (I’m not the best person to guide you on the sub-disciplines) Engineers with skills in system integration, power electronics, control systems, mechatronics, battery tech are required in huge numbers.

Computer Science: Computer vision, robotic perception, SLAM (simultaneous localization, and mapping), etc are trying to make newer safety systems, and needless to say – autonomous vehicles.

Chemical engineering: Fuel cells, polymer batteries, solid-state batteries, etc – the possibilities are endless if you find the right university which is funded well for this research.

Good luck!

Here’s what BHPian sachin_cs had to say on the matter:

Hi there, I believe I’m eligible to answer your question, as I am an under graduate in Automobile Engineering. With regards to syllabus, I would like to tell you that you will be looking at automobile related syllabus from 3rd year, for the first two years it would be more or less mechanical engineering. And you already have a great plan as you would be pursuing PG from Germany, I really wish you all the best for the same.

My only piece of advice would be- whether you go for Mechanical or Automobile engineering, make sure you take admission in such a college/university which is active in formula student/formula bharat/formula student E/Baha/Supra competitions. Open website of these competitions and see for yourself which colleges are performing good, because the real learning would be from such competitions only (as our syllabus is too dated I feel).

I took admission in a private university in automobile engineering but after taking admission, I realised that there’s absolutely nothing in terms of labs/infrastructure/faculties in the department. Thankfully, I was blessed to have like-minded seniors and batchmates and we founded a racing team called Automantra racing. I was associated with the team for 3 years and I took responsibilities for marketing, business and cost department and I feel it was a life changing experience for me, from sourcing and fabricating carbon fibre bodywork to pitching ideas in front of investors, it indeed was one hell of a learning experience.

Some memories:

Here’s what BHPian Apex1815 had to say on the matter:

I can relate to you as I was in the same dilemma when I was in class 12th.

Today I am an Automobile Professional working with a Global Manufacturer of Heavy Earth-moving Machinery from the last 10 years.

I did Mechanical Engg, which covers broader view of Machine Design, Thermodynamics and Manufacturing Technology etc. and found it extremely helpful in pursuing my career in the field of Automobiles.

Even in Automobile companies, the core operations (like Vehicle design, Validation, Production etc) the Educational background requirement is mostly Mechanical/ Electronics/ Electrical/ Production Engg etc.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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