FROM CAREERDRIVEN: AN INDEPENDENT EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING MAGAZINE

Into The Future: From mechanic to technician

You might consider yourself a bit of a geek when it comes to technology, but have you considered the high-tech gadgetry you could work on in a modern car? By Chris Blackshaw

A modern car is an advanced piece of technology that outweighs the Apollo 11 guidance computer (that helped put men on the moon) in processing power. New vehicles now have more in common with computers than ever before. Over the last 30 years, the amount of computer-based technology - compared with mechanical systems - making up the average car has increased from nothing to more than 45 per cent. And this rise is showing no signs of slowing down.

To cope with this, the role of the mechanic has evolved from mechanical repair to one that is highly technological, and in fact those workers are now called technicians in the automotive sector.

Life for technicians is incredibly challenging. As technology continues to evolve, they must learn continuously to keep up with new developments. There is not a one-stop programme in which a technician picks up everything they need at once, but a life-long process. "Technicians need to have an increasingly broad base of knowledge of how vehicles' complex components work and interact, as well as the ability to work with electronic diagnostic equipment and traditional hand tools," says Steve Walker, career development manager at Training 2000, a Lancashire-based Centre of Vocational Excellence.

Using highly specialised diagnostic equipment, technicians are able to monitor and diagnose key areas of a vehicle to ensure they are working correctly, from engines to exhaust emission levels. These high-tech gadgets - some hand-held, others the size of small fridges - are invaluable tools in a technician's problem-solving arsenal. Many provide automatic updates to technical manuals and access to manufacturers' service information, keeping technicians up-to-date on new developments. But it's not just a simple process of plugging a car into a diagnostic unit. If the wrong data is applied, serious damage could be done to a very expensive vehicle.

Advanced, ecological technologies - such as hybrid powertrains that combine an internal combustion engine with an electric motor - place high demands on technicians, who must have expert knowledge of how the systems work. The role of a technician is also critical to the safety of the people riding inside, as airbags, seatbelt restraints and blind-spot warning systems must be regularly checked by trained technicians.

So what do these technological developments mean for the future? "The job of a technician will be an ever more challenging, rewarding and exciting career; a career in which the gadget enthusiast can rest assured that they will be first to get their hands on all the new technologies as they become part of the modern motor vehicle," says Walker.

INSPECT A GADGET

The emerging technologies to watch out for...

Engine software

Instead of developing different models with different engines, engine-management software will determine how each vehicle performs, from basic specifications to V8s and turbo. In this way, engine performance can be tailored to suit each customer.

Heartbeat sensors

If someone breaks into a car, a heartbeat sensor will detect their presence. It then sends a signal to the owner giving them the option of activating a panic button.

Downloadable roadside assistance

Vehicles can be wirelessly networked with central service stations across the country. These can then continuously monitor a vehicle and provide updates to its key systems, fixing many problems while it is on the road.

Parts supply

Replacement vehicle parts will be produced on site using the next generation of rapid prototyping printer technology, building an exact 3D, physical copy using a central manufacturer's database.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Junior Software Developer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Junior Software Deve...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn