Today we are talking to Abhilash Arora from Mahindra Electric Mobility Limited. As a student at Manipal University, between 2016-2017, Abhilash participated in Formula Student Germany and Formula Bharat.
What Did You Learn in these Competitions?
In the early stages of the development process, we had realized the importance of simulation and testing our designs.
Why did you choose to get involved in these competitions?
I have been inquisitive about how things work since my childhood, which helped me to choose engineering as my field of study after high school. The Formula One and Formula E races served as one of the inspirations to be involved in the world of automotive. The racing cars zooming through those meandering tracks was amazing to watch and ponder how these complex beasts have been made! And when I had the opportunity to be a part of a project which is nearly executed on that scale, I couldn’t miss that bus. 😉
What was your role on the team?
I had been the founding member of Formula Manipal Electric, our university’s first electric vehicle project. I was involved as a Electric Powertrain Engineer for the team working on Li-ion battery and powertrain components and developing control systems for them. Being the first to attempt to design and manufacture an electric vehicle in university was a challenge for us; nonetheless with support from our combustion division, university, and formula student community we could achieve the high targets set by us.
How did you use MATLAB & Simulink in the competition and/or academic work?
In the early stages of the development process, we had realized the importance of simulation and testing our designs. Thanks to MathWorks and our university which provided a campus-wide license we used MATLAB & Simulink extensively for our simulations for energy consumption estimations and battery modeling. One of the great features of Simulink which helped us was model-based design–easy to understand for a newbie and not to be bogged down with lines of code.
How Did Competitions Help You Find a Job?
The exposure to industry concepts and vehicle development across its value chain albeit at a miniature scale has helped me to quickly learn and grow in the industry.
Do you think the skills you gained using these tools has helped you in your professional career?
With early exposure to MATLAB & Simulink during my studies and utilizing them as part of Formula Student has helped to open my mind to a plethora of ideas concerning a product being envisioned and developed. Simulation tools help you to learn from your mistakes and continuously improve upon and validate.
Did your hands-on experience in the competition help to prepare you for your first role in industry?
Undoubtedly, yes! Formula Student experience is one of the reasons I decided to be in the automotive sector. The exposure to industry concepts and vehicle development across its value chain albeit at a miniature scale has helped me to quickly learn and grow in the industry. It just doesn’t help you to be a good engineer, but more importantly, it makes you a good human being. The interactions with suppliers, industrial sponsors, tight deadlines, and budget constraints have helped me to polish my communication skills, be good at time management, and nonetheless be innovative and frugal!
What Are You Working On Today?
In your current role at Mahindra Electric do you use MATLAB & Simulink?
Currently, being part of Mahindra Electric, I am involved as a System Architect for the electric powertrain. We use MATLAB & Simulink to get a variety of inputs across the value chain to design and build a robust system. It has served as an amazing tool to imagine and re-imagine building a world-class product! Model-based System Engineering is the future of the automotive industry with the increased complexity; it helps to quickly model, simulate, and validate the designs. The one concept we believe as a team is “System Design is 99% empirical evidence and 1% intuition” which enables us to make better decisions.
What big project you are working on right now?
Mahindra Electric is an early pioneer in the world of electric mobility in India; I am involved in product development to truly revolutionize the last mile connectivity and enable the transition to a connected, shared electric mobility ecosystem. With a clear goal in hindsight, we are on the way to change the world for good!
The time spent to design and build a race car is not an easy task to achieve; however you come out as a good engineer and a professional.
What advice would you give young engineers seeking employment post-grad?
I have three mantras to be successful in life.
First, Try, Fail and Repeat! The proven mantra to be successful in life is to learn from your mistakes and not let your weaknesses hinder your progress.
The second important mantra is to identify your specific interest well in time and work upon excelling and improving on it.
The third mantra is Be Practical as much as you can! Utilize the resources at your university, make use of tools like MATLAB & Simulink for realizing theoretical concepts, and try to execute in real life and be involved in projects like Formula Student.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
The time spent to design and build a race car is not an easy task to achieve; however you come out as a good engineer and a professional. I will highly recommend if provided the opportunity to participate in the Formula Student competitions. I would thank MathWorks for constantly supporting student teams through great content and license support. Also, I am indebted to my teammates at Formula Manipal Electric and Manipal University for helping me become a great professional in the industry.
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