How to Start a Career in Autonomous Vehicle Design

by / ⠀Career Advice / March 22, 2022
Self-driving cars are the future. Many of the top manufacturers today are investing in the design of safe and efficient autonomous vehicles.

Self-driving cars will bring a huge shift in our current paradigm of driving. Many of the top manufacturers today are investing in designing safe and efficient autonomous vehicles.

The world now has hybrid vehicles. We also have electric vehicles. The next big step in the evolution of transportation isn’t in innovation. It’s not in improving the engine or revolutionizing its power source but rather in autonomy.

In the near future, chances are everyone will be taking autonomous vehicles wherever they need to go, though some experts don’t see people as owning them. Rather, we will house autonomous vehicles in large garages. They can then be called out as needed. This allows the companies that own them to keep them in top condition.

This will likely become the go-to solution for those living in urban environments. In large cities, space is at a premium. Streets filled with parked cars are a huge waste of competitive space.

Getting started in a new career in this industry means pushing the limits of design. It also means being part of a huge new paradigm in society and in mechanical engineering. It’s a great way forward for mechanical and electric engineers, computer scientists, and more.

Consider the tips below. They will help you get started with a career in autonomous vehicle design.

Step 1 is to become an engineer.

One of the most critical steps to becoming an autonomous vehicle designer is obvious. You will need to be an engineer.

Having an undergraduate degree is a great start. Take your degree to the next level by competing in competitions, joining societies, and taking on personal projects (and finishing them).

During your undergraduate days, if you haven’t already graduated, aim to have at least one, and ideally two internships per year so that you can get your career going.

Earn a master’s in electrical and computer engineering.

Autonomous vehicle design is incredibly new. Nonetheless, there’s a great degree program available that will provide you with an excellent foundation. You can then take your engineering skills into this innovative and exciting new world of design.

For example, this masters in electrical and computer engineering online is the first of its kind. It has been created to help those who want to start a career developing electric and autonomous vehicles and mobile robots.

Students learn everything they need. This includes how to integrate electrical and computer systems for autonomous vehicles, how to develop advanced applications for electric, hybrid, and, of course, autonomous vehicles and key AI robotics concepts.

This degree is entirely online. Students can finish it in approximately 24 months. This allows you to kickstart your career in this new field and to help forge a whole new way forward for transportation.

Understand the different roles.

There are many people working behind the scenes of autonomous vehicle design. You need to know what’s out there and what role interests you the most.

For most engineers, especially those going through the recommended master’s route, designing and integrating electrical and mechanical systems is a key component.

That being said, coders and DevOps are also important. If you are more familiar with the electrical or coding side of things, then learning C++, starting and using Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), CAD, and more are all important.

From designing a machine that can respond to designing code that can see and respond to real-world conditions and work to match driving restrictions and speed limit changes, there are so many great ways that you can really build a career in this field.

Focus on the area of design that you find most interesting. Look for degrees that will help you build the necessary skills you will need. After that, you can really kickstart your career in this field.

Here are some thoughts on getting your first job.

Know that you will likely need to work your way horizontally into this field.

Additionally, try to find or manage your own projects that allow you to specifically showcase your knowledge and passion for autonomous vehicle design or other robotics.

Likewise, you will also want to be vocal about your goals. State clearly state what you want out of your career. Do this confidently from Day One. This will ensure that those who have the connections know what you’re all about and can make recommendations.

However, don’t worry if you don’t immediately get a job in the field you want.

Don’t worry if your first job working for a company developing autonomous vehicles isn’t in-depth or hands-on. You may need to work your way in! Doing so now will allow you to be at the forefront of this exciting new industry.

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