Today we’re talking to Roni Deb from Ather Energy. As a student in SRM University, Chennai between 2015 and 2017, Roni participated in Formula Student Germany, Formula Student India, and Formula Bharat.
What Did You Learn in Formula Student?
“We realised that in order to understand and predict the vehicle performances at an early concept stage, simulation was necessary.”
Why did you choose to get involved in the Formula Student competitions?
As a freshman in college, I was deeply touched with the concept of creating a racecar at an undergraduate level and competing with other universities. Things became more interesting when I learnt about the amount of planning, both monetary and resources, that goes into building a single car. Hence, joining my college Formula Student Team was a no-brainer.
What was your role on the team?
Initially, as a 1st year recruit I was involved in doing odd jobs such as running errands for the team for getting parts manufactured. As time went by, I gained an interest in Vehicle Dynamics. By my final year, I took up the responsibility of Chief Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, where I tried to ensure that the development of the chassis, suspension and steering is aligned with our goals for performance and durability.
Did you use MATLAB and Simulink in the development of your car?
Yes. Me and my team had an interest in building models using the most basic elementary algorithms first and slowly developing our way up. We realised that in order to understand and predict the vehicle performances at an early concept stage, simulation was necessary.
How Did Formula Student Help You Find a Job?
“Projects, whether in university level or professional level require the same level of commitment and determination.”
Do you think the skills you gained using these tools has helped you in your professional career?
Yes, It has become easier for me to visualize the scope for any new developing project. On top of that, as we enter the professional industry, our previous experiences count a lot. Having a previous background in mathematical model development and simulation is a great start in one’s career, especially if you wish to continue working on a similar turf.
Did your hands-on experience in Formula Student help to prepare you for your first role in industry?
What I have realised is that projects, whether in university level or professional level require the same level of commitment and determination. The scale of monetary or technical resources might vary, but from an individual’s point of view, you need to be equally focused. So yes, It was a huge support in preparing for the professional industry.
Read the MathWorks user story from Ather Energy.
What Are You Working On Today?
In your current role at Ather Energy do you use MATLAB and Simulink?
Our team uses MATLAB and Simulink a daily basis to assess, understand and optimise vehicle dynamics parameters at a conceptual phase. This is similar to what we have been doing during our Formula Student days. Estimates made using hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulations led us to better visualisation of the mechanical strains on chassis and suspension components.
What big project you are working on right now?
As of today, Ather Energy is the first smart electric scooter to hit the Indian roads. Our current goal is to attract the mass market with the benefits of going electric. I see tremendous potential in what we are trying to do.
“Be proactive. There is always something to learn.”
What advice would you give young engineers seeking employment post-grad?
Be proactive. There is always something to learn; whether it is in the technicalities of your sub-system or the team and resource management discussions. Being enthusiastic about your desired field of work will surely land you in a good professional environment, or it will even help you create your own entrepreneurial environment.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
MATLAB and Simulink have become highly essential tools throughout the technical industry. The earlier the exposure the better. Formula Student has given us the chance to showcase the capabilities of using such simulation tools for practical purposes, which is definitely not possible in classrooms. On top of that, there is a need for students involved in such practical use of such simulation tools in the industry right now. Also, student support shown by MathWorks for Formula Student competitions is highly appreciated by all and should be utilised to the fullest. I heavily recommend the use of MATLAB and Simulink.
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