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Embedded Systems Recruitment in Automotive Engineering

12 mins

The automotive industry has undergone substantial change, where automotive embedded systems ...

The automotive industry has undergone substantial change, where automotive embedded systems now stand as indispensable components in intelligent transport systems. These systems represent a revolutionary change in the way automobiles operate, functioning as dedicated task performers within a broader system. Embedded systems such as microcontrollers and sensors collaborate seamlessly to optimise the overall performance of vehicles.

The rapid expansion of the automotive embedded systems market underscores the importance of specialists possessing niche expertise. Recruiters find themselves tasked with identifying candidates endowed with profound skill sets to meet industry demands and contribute to the ongoing revolution in the automotive sector.

In this guide, we will discuss the importance of automotive embedded systems, providing various examples within the industry. We will delve into a mix of both hard and soft skills recruiters should look for in candidates in automotive embedded software jobs.

The Importance of Embedded Systems in the Automotive Industry

The demand for automotive embedded systems is vast. New advancements and continuous innovations mean the market is set to grow substantially. The global automotive embedded systems market is expected to register a CAGR of 8% between 2023 and 2032. Rapid market growth means the demand for specialists with niche expertise is vast. Recruiters must search for candidates with profound talent to keep up with market demand and drive success within the automotive industry.

So, why is sourcing expert talent to drive innovation within the automotive embedded systems industry particularly important?

1. Performance and Efficiency 

Advancements in automotive embedded systems have massively optimised performance and efficiency through Engine Control Unit (ECU) developments, monitoring fuel and power efficiency, and progress in transmission technology used to manage gear changes, providing smooth acceleration. Embedded systems are also the driving force behind eco-friendly electric vehicles to maximise efficiency regarding battery power and regenerative braking. Sourcing experts in the field is essential in propelling advancements in this area.

2. Improved Safety 

 Automotive embedded systems utilise sensors and actuators to optimise safety by implementing features such as preventing wheels from locking up during abrupt braking, allowing for shorter stopping distances. Sensors and actuators are also being implemented to prevent wheels from slipping and skidding, to maximise safety, and to create a safer driving experience in difficult conditions. Attracting and retaining expertise who can implement embedded systems to enhance safety features is crucial for revolutionary solutions.

3. Connectivity 

Embedded systems are effectively shaping the future of mobility. Processing sensor data and controlling actuators enhance autonomous navigation experiences. Embedded systems also allow vehicles to communicate with each other and infrastructure efficiently, optimising traffic management and safety on the road. Talented candidates with specialisms in connectivity are, therefore, vital in driving advancements in connectivity. 

Types of Embedded Systems in Automotive Engineering

Now that we have defined the role of embedded systems as well as the importance of embedded systems recruitment in the automotive industry let’s take a look at some examples of the most essential embedded systems within the field: 

1. Driver Assistance Systems (DAS)

Driver Assistance Systems (DAS) are essential in optimising safety by implementing assistance systems to reduce stress and improve driving experience. 

Some of the most widely used Driver Assistant Systems include:

  • Adaptive cruise control (ACC)- Sensors within embedded systems are utilised to measure the speed and distance of other vehicles and quickly adjust the vehicle's speed to keep a safe distance from any vehicles nearby. ACC also has additional features, such as lane control, to detect lane markings and help keep your vehicle centred. According to the National Safety Council, ADAS technologies can potentially prevent 20,841 deaths per year, of which Lane-keeping assistance accounts for 14,844. 

  • Blind-spot monitoring - Radar sensors are used to navigate vehicles in the driver's blind spot, providing visual alerts or sounds to draw attention to potential hazards. Driver awareness is therefore enhanced, reducing the risk of accidents during lane changes.

  • Parking assist systems - By using ultrasonic sensors and cameras, parking assist systems help drivers navigate parking spaces. Some systems are also designed to steer the wheel automatically to streamline the process.

2. In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI)

In-vehicle infotainment focuses on delivering connectivity and implementing efficient features to enhance entertainment and safety. 

In-vehicle infotainment features can include:

  • Navigation - Navigation features in in-vehicle infotainment create a smarter and safer driving experience. Embedded systems can provide traffic updates, generating essential information regarding delays and road closures. Components can also include downloadable maps and visual and audio directions, providing several efficient route options. 

  • Visual and Audio - In-Vehichle Infotainment embedded systems incorporate visual and audio features to keep drivers informed and connected on the road. Graphical features include multiple screen displays to optimise features like 3D maps or vehicle information. Audio aspects include voice control and asking for commands, such as navigation assistance with minimal distraction, premium sound systems, and active noise cancellation. 

  • Touch - IVI has several touch features that enhance control of several panels, eliminating the need for various buttons and allowing for customisable dashboard designs. Touch technology can carry out several tasks, from audio controls to navigation and phone calls, providing a more innovative, flexible way of feature control.  

3. Safety Systems

In the automotive safety space, embedded systems play a pivotal role in maximising vehicle stability and safeguarding occupants during critical moments. 

Below are some of the most crucial safety systems in the automotive industry are as follows:

  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) - Embedded systems within ABS are designed to stop wheel lockup during emergency braking to significantly reduce the risk of skidding and loss of control and create shorter stopping distances. ABS controllers and sensors in embedded systems can effectively assess changes in wheel speed and alter brake pressure accordingly. 

  • Air Bag Deployment System - This life-saving system uses several sensors, accelerometers, and pressure sensors to measure changes in vehicle speed and g-force to detect potentially dangerous impacts. Based on this sensor data, the control unit assesses the need for airbag deployment and initiates the inflation process by considering the direction of force and which seats are affected. 

  • Traction Control System - The primary role of a traction control embedded system is to maximise vehicle safety by controlling wheel spin and preventing loss of grip on slippery surfaces. Embedded systems, such as wheel speed sensors and traction controllers, monitor rotational speed data and compare it to expected speed based on particular vehicle dynamics, such as engine power and steering angle, to trigger any necessary break pressure adjustments. 

To discover more examples of real-time embedded systems, take a look at our insightful guide - The Real-Time Applications of Embedded Systems.

Essential Skills in Automotive Embedded Software Jobs

As new technological advancements in the automotive embedded systems industry rapidly evolve, the demand for professionals with niche expertise in the sector is also at an all-time high. It is crucial that employers navigate the essential skills needed to drive innovation within the industry, ensuring they are hiring suitable candidates. 

Here, we’ll cover the most essential skills employers should look for when recruiting candidates for automotive embedded software jobs:

1. Programming Languages

In the automotive embedded systems industry, programming languages are the vital building blocks used to manage complex systems and safety necessities within vehicles. 

Below are a bunch of the key programming languages a candidate within the field must master when building and handling software systems:

  • C - Knowledge of the C programming language is essential, allowing control over system performance and use of resources such as memory and peripherals. The run time overhead is minimal, meaning execution times are faster and more efficient. It is vital for embedded systems engineers to be educated in this area in the automotive embedded systems industry,  where responsiveness is crucial. 

  • AUTOSAR C++ - By focusing on the safety aspects of automotive systems, such as fault tolerance and responsiveness, it is an ideal programming language for developing crucial control units for airbags and brakes. AUTOSAR C++ is a common framework for software architecture where modules can be developed independently, producing more efficient, faster cycles and easier adaptation to various vehicles.

  • Python - In terms of data analysis, machine learning and testing, Python is the ideal programming language. Python provides readily available data visualisation and analysis tools, helping developers extract vital information from large amounts of data. As the leading language for artificial intelligence, Python is excellent at developing features such as self-driving systems. 

2. Hardware and Software Knowledge

Hardware and software development expertise is crucial in unlocking the complex systems of software, algorithms and data analysis to drive futuristic technology such as autonomous driving. Skill gaps in this area mean businesses will fail to create cutting-edge advancements. 

The revenue of the software segment expanded at a CAGR of 6.5% over the last four years, with a projected CAGR of 5.2% for the next ten years. So, as software-based systems are rapidly being implemented, software and hardware development specialists are in huge demand. 

Below are some of the key areas of hardware and software expertise:

  • Microcontrollers/Microprocessor development - It is crucial for embedded systems engineers to understand the internal core processing units, such as memory maps, to create efficient and reliable code, which is essential in developing revolutionary automotive embedded systems.

  • Testing and Debugging - Profound skills and expertise in tools such as oscilloscopes and multimeters are crucial in identifying and debugging hardware and software faults. Essential skills also involve trialling how modules interact with one another and perform specific functions, as well as monitoring performance and usability to evaluate overall software and hardware quality.

  • Embedded system design principles  - Understanding design principles such as Real-time operating systems (RTOS), where scheduling techniques are used to relay sensory data and implement reactive algorithms, is vital in ensuring precise and quick automotive system response. Embedded systems engineers must be knowledgeable on safety-critical design principles, such as tolerance mechanisms, to minimise danger.

3. Real-Time Operating Systems Expertise (RTOS)

Real-time operating Systems (RTOS) act as conductors, ensuring timely execution and communication between several tasks. Mastering RTOS skills empowers organisations to design and implement systems that respond accurately, guaranteeing reliability and efficiency across various applications.

The key RTOS skills within the automotive embedded system industry are:

  • Understanding RTOS concepts  - Expertise in RTOS concepts such as interruption handling, scheduling and resource management. For example, interruption handling involves knowing how to handle and reduce interruptions between sensors and devices to ensure data is exchanged efficiently.

  • Synchronisation and communication - Specialist talent in synchronisation and communication of automotive embedded systems is essential within the industry. Mechanisms such as message queues and semaphores are valuable in accurately implementing a reliable data exchange between different tasks.

  • Experience with RTOS programming tools - Embedded systems engineers must be knowledgeable on RTOS programming tools, which are essential in developing real-time automotive embedded systems. Tools like FreeRTOS and VxWorks provide high-performance, comprehensive, and extensive security features, providing robust certification, ideal for critical automotive systems. 

4. Teamwork Skills

Although technical expertise is pivotal within the automotive embedded systems industry, soft skills are also essential in driving success as companies increasingly seek professionals with valuable characteristics to help develop projects. 

So, what are the most pivotal aspects involved in teamwork?

  • Create a collaborative environment - Fostering a collaborative environment promotes communication, allowing individuals to acknowledge different perspectives and have the opportunity to grow their skill sets.

  • Meeting deadlines - Automotive development cycles are highly demanding, with tight deadlines and evolving technology. Teamwork skills are essential in encouraging efficient task scheduling and shared workloads, making it easier for a team to meet strict deadlines and achieve project goals on time. 

  • Adapting to technical advancements - The continuous evolution of technological innovation means adapting to different perspectives and advancements, which is crucial. As the industry transforms, teams must come together to navigate projects to meet changing requirements within the field.

5. Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills are essential in automotive embedded systems. Engineers encounter several challenges during system development, such as hardware failures and performance limitations. The ability to analyse and create solutions for these problems is crucial for ensuring the reliability and accuracy of embedded systems, where minor errors can have consequences. 

Why should hiring managers prioritise problem-solving skills during the automotive engineering recruitment process?

  • Hardware and Software challenges - Interactions between hardware and software components and integrating features such as sensors can lead to potential malfunctions. It is essential for professionals in the field to know how to identify issues and cultivate solutions to address any system faults.

  • Evolving field - As new technology is being rapidly implemented in the automotive embedded systems industry, engineers must be able to evaluate the compatibility of new advancements and address any potential challenges that arise. Problem-solving skills are essential in adapting to new technology and unlocking its advantages.

  • Drive innovation - Strong problem-solving skills are valuable in testing hypotheses and assessing results, giving candidates the flexibility to design experiments and adopt various approaches. Learning from successes and failures opens doors to optimal efficiency and drives innovation in automotive embedded systems. 

To learn more about how these skills may be relevant to various roles in embedded systems, take a look at our insightful guide - Top 5 Embedded Systems Jobs.

How Can Your Bussiness Widen Talent Pools?

The automotive embedded systems market is ever-growing and highly demanding, meaning sourcing talented professionals with the correct expertise is increasingly difficult.

So, how can your business strategically widen talent pools to source and retain experts with the correct skills?

  • Transferable skills - Sourcing talent from other industries, such as computer science and physics, is essential in identifying potential transferable skills, such as problem-solving and analytical expertise, which can be easily applied to automotive embedded systems specialisms.

  • Remote work - As remote working is becoming increasingly popular, more and more professionals are attracted to flexible working opportunities. Being open to remote work broadens talent pools significantly, granting access to global talent within the automotive embedded systems industry. 

  • Benefits package - Providing competitive salaries, development opportunities, and training programmes is crucial in attracting and retaining extraordinary tech talent in the demanding automotive embedded systems industry.  

  • Promote a positive work environment - A positive work culture and environment involves encouraging well-being and work-life balance. By implementing such factors, your business can attract highly sought-after professionals within the automotive embedded systems industry.

Final Thoughts on Automotive Embedded Systems and Recruitment

Advancements in the automotive embedded systems industry are continuously enhancing performance, safety, and connectivity features.

When exploring the vital skills essential for success in automotive embedded software jobs, it is clear that proficiency in languages such as C, AUTOSAR C++, and Python, coupled with a deep understanding of hardware and software development, forms the bedrock of innovation.

Teamwork skills are crucial in navigating the demanding and evolving automotive development cycles, fostering collaborative environments, meeting deadlines, and adapting to technical advancements. Problem-solving skills are unrivalled in addressing hardware and software integration challenges and driving innovation in the face of a demanding field.

In an ever-evolving industry where technological advancements are the norm, businesses that invest in recruiting, nurturing, and supporting skilled professionals will not only meet current demands but will also be well-positioned to drive future innovations in automotive embedded systems.

Helping your Business Source Automotive Embedded Systems Talent

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So, whether you are looking to expand your team or are searching for your next job role, contact us today to discuss your requirements.