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Karthik works as a Lead Engineer at Volvo Group Trucks Technology

Karthik Ramanan graduated from the master’s programme in Vehicle Engineering in 2016. After his studies he began working with braking and vehicle dynamics control systems.

Karthik Ramanan
Master's programme in Vehicle Engineering

Hi Karthik, what are you working with at the moment?

I am permanently employed at Volvo Group Trucks Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. My current role is Lead Engineer in Braking and Vehicle Dynamics Control Systems. I am end-to-end responsible for the vehicle features Traction and Manual Trailer Braking. End-to-end includes advanced engineering research, prototype SW/Systems development, concept development and evaluation, support for verification, validation, production and aftermarket.

What can a regular day look like at your job?

My days at work are regularly irregular due to the dynamic nature of the tasks. The days usually start with a team meeting wherein we discuss the work done during the previous day, new team inputs, impediments and a plan of the current day. This keeps us on our toes and generates good collaboration wherein we see the dependencies towards other teams.

SW development discussions are regular, project technical discussions are frequent, and discussions with suppliers periodic. On a non-periodic basis, I participate in function verification and validation on trucks at test tracks (not on public roads for safety reasons) and the purpose could range from prototyping to function performance checks.

Lunch at Swedish lunch time is most welcomed, a couple of coffee breaks and the work pace winds down at dusk.

Have you worked with anything else since you graduated?

I have worked mainly within the braking and vehicle dynamics control systems domain since I graduated. My master’s thesis that I completed in June 2016 was on vehicle traction. During the summer of 2016, I interned at Volvo Powertrain AB working with electric driveline environment programming. I started my current role as a consultant post-summer 2016 and continued until April 2017, after which I transitioned to a permanent position within the same role.

Winter testing in the north of Sweden

Why did you choose this programme at KTH?

In one word, passion. I love heavy commercial vehicles – the ones that transport goods and passengers. I was associated with a major commercial manufacturer in India and my passion to learn more stemmed from that association. On the other hand, I was an undergraduate in Mechatronics systems with a quest for vehicle dynamics and controls. I had to choose a programme that offered the right blend of my passion, exposure to industry, curriculum and research and hence, KTH.

Plus, tie-ups with Scania and Volvo and thereby KTH Vehicle Engineering made it the right choice.

Are there any insights or knowledge you acquired during your studies that have been particularly useful for you in your career?

Plenty. The first insight is the level of collaboration between academia and the industry and this has helped me stay on a constant learning curve. Secondly, I learnt at KTH how to acquire newer perspectives on engineering as well as how to apply it to innovation. Lastly, KTH gave me an insight into the vast expanse of automotive engineering and that has strengthened my quest for knowledge.

What were the best aspects of your studies at KTH?

In my opinion, the best aspect of my study at KTH has been the freedom to choose what you want to learn and what you want to be. Many programmes in KTH offer the possibility to choose ‘tracks’ – dedicated sets of courses to specialize in a particular domain. But you are free as well to choose courses outside of the track to build knowledge and pursue interests. Combined with exciting assignments and projects as a part of the coursework, the programmes prepare you better to pursue varied career options in a world of opportunities.

What is your best memory from your time at university?

My best memory from my time at KTH has been teamwork and fun during various project courses and assignments. I have also had fun with go-karting where our batchmates took turns to race against each other as well our course teachers. Combined with introduction day programmes, group trips with friends and the annual fireworks concerts, I must admit that my whole time at KTH is a memory to cherish.

Group trip to Iceland with my friends in the end of my second year at KTH

What are your plans for the future?

The passion for automobiles seems to run in my blood and for the foreseeable future, I see myself associated with heavy commercial vehicles. On the geographical placement, I plan to be in Sweden for a while (for the weather, culture, eco and engineering). Maybe, if an opportunity arises to further pursue my interests in academia, I will look forward to returning to KTH.

What would you say to a student thinking of applying for this programme?

I would say that you cannot beat this programme. The blend of learning, practice, research and exposure to industry is just right and the future looks bright.