Attention Car Engineers: Tell Me The Strangest Things You've Had To Do To Adapt To The Pandemic

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Illustration: Jason Torchinsky

A few months ago, a friend who works as an engineer for a major automaker showed me a test-rig that he built out of PVC pipes he’d purchased from his local hardware store. “Well, I can’t do the testing at work, so I’m just going to have to figure something out in my garage,” he told me. The contraption he made was amazing. I want to see more of this. So if you’re an auto engineer who’s had to get creative because of the pandemic, tell me your story.

I’m not looking for any sort of insider information (my friend won’t let me show his contraption, because it shows his pre-production vehicle), and I’m happy to keep you anonymous if you want, but what I’d really like to see are some cool ways that automotive engineers have had to adapt to the pandemic. Even if you didn’t have to build a cool rig at home, I’d like to know how your job has changed.

If you’re a validation engineer who previously went on long trips to the Arizona desert for thermal testing, have you had to make any interesting changes to the way you do your job? I realize that to make repairs/mechanical on vehicles, engineers normally have to request the services of a technician due to union rules. Has this changed at all? Is there leeway to do your own wrenching?


Perhaps you’re a dyno cell technician, or maybe your role doesn’t involve too much much interaction with hardware. Maybe you’re a CAD designer in the packaging team.

I’d like to like to understand how vehicle development has changed due to COVID-19, because engineering a car is such a collaborative effort that involves so many parties and so much specialized equipment I bet social distancing has really made things odd. I’d like to know how odd.

Email me at gain, I’m happy to keep you anonymous if necessary.