Students at LTU, which studies automotive system engineering, drove test cars with expertise in automotive testing facility Colmis Proving Ground in Arjeplog

LTU students had the opportunity to make car tests with expert help

A beautiful early spring day this week, a group of students from Luleå University of Technology went to Arjeplog to learn how modern automotive systems work and how to test them. On Colmis car testing facility, and with the help of SAAB- experts as instructors, they had the opportunity to test how real car testing works.

Image: LTU students Jonas Holmström (left) and Erik Liljeström (right)
LTU-students Jonas Holmstrom (left) from Linköping and Erik Liljeström (right) from Göteborg to test automotive systems during his training to automotive system engineering

- I think it's a good education, great fun, you can do what you enjoy. I applied for car systems because I am interested in cars, says Erik Liljeström from Gothenburg who read his second year as automotive system engineer at Luleå University of Technology and he is backed by his fellow student.

- Interesting courses, works well said Jonas Holmström from Linkoping, also a student at LTU's automotive systems engineering.

Photo: Kenneth Backlund and Stefan Rundquist from Dynatech Automotive AB
The experts Kenneth Backlund (left) and Stefan Rundquist (right) from the newly formed company Dynatech Automotive AB, with long experience of work in the car manufacturer SAAB in cooperation with Luleå University of Technology

It is the first time LTU implements a practical driving test within the education program automotive system enginering where experienced cardevelopers participate. A partnership has been launched with Dynatech Automotive AB which is a completely new company with a handful of former SAAB employees with between 16 and 30 years of experience. The company will primarily work with chassis development among large and small companies, but as another part of its concept with training and event drivings.

- Exercises is to be able to understand how the car works if you change some details in it and to get understanding of what car test means, said Stefan Rundquist instructor and vehicle developer within Dyna Teck Automotive AB

Photo: Instructors from DynaTech go through rules and routines
Instructors from DynaTech go through the rules and procedures for LTU-students driving on Colmis car test facility outside Arjeplog.

The exercise in automotive testing at the facility Colmis Proving Ground in Arjeplog on Wednesday began with an introduction in which SAAB experts gave conditions for the practical driving exercises. The facility has a comprehensive track system with strict security and great secrecy, in which many players are active. In addition to safety instructions, the students had a thorough overview of the kinds of exercises that would be implemented. There was everything from driving on a circular path with a focus on the car's performance in over-and understeer, brake testing against fake moose, slalom and different braking exercises and so on. The instructors had also swiched off different systems in the cars and the students had to identify this in the exercises, which was appreciated.

Image: LTU students are testing Automotive Systems Colmis in Arjeplog
LTU's students have the opportunity to test automotive systems on Colmis test facility outside Arjeplog with experienced experts to support.

- In addition to a fun experience it is very instructive and it's clearly a difference between the cars and one can get to know how they behave and then we will probably know what it is the difference between the cars, and then you can pair one with another said student Erik Liljeström.

As the automotive testing industry in Sweden is growing, not least in Norrbotten, so will the demand for educated automotive system engineers increase. The need has increased, partly due to the crisis in the automotive industry from 2008 where you had to discharge lots of staff and outsource whole activities. Today, the trend reversed and you ask for well-trained engineers.

Photo: Peter Jeppsson, Luleå University of Technology
Peter Jeppsson, program director for the education automotive system engineering at Luleå University of Technology,

- It's great that we can meet that demand. We need qualified skills and you have to have university or engineering degree to take on these advanced missions, said Peter Jeppsson program director for education in automotive systems engineering at Luleå University of Technology and says that it provides jobs after finishing school.

- All, according to my knowledge, has found a job. The skills they get will work very well even within the engineering industry and the probability of getting a job with test contractors is increasing all the time, he says.

Photo: Stefan Rundquist from DynaTech with flag in hand
Stefan Rundquist from DynaTech Automotive AB flagging off a new round of tests with cars driven by LTU students.

Instructors from DynaTech Automotive AB was impressed that students were not only focused on the actual driving.

- They have taken on the task humbly. Of course it is very easy to get out on the ice and step on the gas  too much and that it is more fun to drive than to look at the real task, but they have embraced what we have said and listened to us and run under our corrections, said Kenneth Bäcklund inspector in Dynatech Automotive AB.