Automotive Design of today : The Shortcut


 

Let me take you through a hypothetical conversation in a automobile design house to drive my point.

CO2 emmisions

Jr Designer (to Head of Design) : We have a potential problem area. our cars are not going to pass emissions norms.
Head of Design : hmm..how many cylinders do we have? was it 4? lets put a 3 cylinder engine in the car. there, your problem solved !
JD : but then, we will have issue with cost if we have to make a new engine.
HD : hmm, get the engines teams and tell them to chop off 1 cylinder and then make it a 3 cylinder ! simple.
JD: But how are you going to tackle the power drop?
HD : Buddy, heard of turbochargers? add one..it’ll take car of the lack of power.
JD : you are Geniaaass !!!

HD:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NVH

JD : but then, we are going to head into potential Noise issue.
HD : heard of damping material? stuff it.
JD : No place, also, it will add weight.
HD : hmm..This Bose audio guy was taking about something new..active noise cancellation or something. talk to them.
JD : aah yes, BMW is using it to simulate the engine noise inside the cabin which doesn’t actually exist and everybody is doing it..I believe it is the latest shortcut to eliminate road noise in the cabin too.
HD : yupp, spend lesser time thinking about it. call this Bose guy.
JD : you are Geniaaasss !!
HD :

 

Rear View 

JD : ok ok..next question.
HD : damn you kid..whats your problem now.
JD : see the way this design rakes in the back, this leaves no room for rearward visibility for the driver.
HD : Technology my friend..use it. Heard of parking sensors and rearview cameras? ..use them liberally. Problem solved.
JD : But then..all this is going to get a bit expensive.
HD : oh please..go sit under a tree and think. Else call those Bosch guys. They have a solution to every problem of yours.
JD : you are Geniaaasss !!
HD :

 

Now, what you understand from the conversation is that the problems are very conventional problems that the automotive design world has been having since eons. Only now, the manufacturers are trying to use what they think is leap in technology but in essence, all it is just a short cut in solving the problems which used to be solved ingeniously.
Also, I laugh when I read about noise cancellation and rear view parking cameras being the latest technology offerings on cars. they are only fixes to problems which needn’t have to be there in the 1st place.

There are many many such examples which I’m sure you can recognize as well…

 

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