Vehicle and traffic technology

On land, at sea and in the air - engineers in this field of study make the transportation of people and goods by car, train, ship, plane and even in space more efficient, environmentally friendly and comfortable.

The field of study at a glance

Students learn how drives and components for vehicle and traffic technology are optimized and further developed. Topics such as electrification, digitalization and sustainability are also on the curriculum.

In the field of aerospace technology, research is being carried out into systems that are as light as possible and highly reliable, as well as new synthetic fuels. The selection of materials and materials used is crucial. The connections to materials science are correspondingly close.

Offered courses

Courses in this field can usually be completed at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. In terms of content, vehicle, ship, aerospace technology primarily includes the construction and operation of vehicles and their drives and equipment. The focus is on, among other things, motor vehicles and rail vehicles, ships, airplanes, helicopters, spaceships and other missiles (satellites).

• In addition to tankers, container ships, yachts and submarines, shipbuilding and marine technology also involves the construction of marine technology such as platforms, offshore facilities and equipment for deep-sea research. This also includes the use of the lake as a resource as a source of energy, raw materials and food. Courses on the nautical and engineering management of ships, such as “nautical science” or “ship operations technology”, also belong to this area.

• With the increasing importance of electric drives and autonomous systems, energy and battery technology as well as the understanding of IT, communication and mechatronics have become more important in vehicle technology. This is also shown by courses such as “Alternative Drives in Vehicle Technology” or “Vehicle Technology and Mobile Systems”.

• At the interface between vehicle technology and traffic infrastructure construction, traffic engineering deals with interdisciplinary issues relating to the organization of traffic flow as well as the design and dimensioning of traffic systems for the transport of people and goods. The subject examines the complex interaction of different transport systems and develops solutions for transport planning.

Contents of the course

Content such as engineering mathematics and computer science, scientific and structural principles as well as technical mechanics play a major role in all degree programs in this field. Manufacturing technology, materials science, electrical engineering and electronics, strength of materials, as well as measurement and sensor technology are also among the basic skills. These are supplemented by vehicle-specific knowledge and often business basics as well as English. Modules such as vehicle development, construction, drive and chassis technology, mechatronics, vehicle dynamics, control and driver assistance systems, measurement and testing technology, and simulation are used to deepen vehicle-specific knowledge when studying vehicle technology. Depending on the course offering, it is possible to focus on areas such as construction and development, system and drive Technology, Energy Technology, Chassis or Body Technology, as well as service or design. There are also modules such as cost and investment management, business organization and industrial management, project and quality management.

Degree programs in the field of Electromobility provide basic scientific and practical knowledge in mathematics, physics, electrical engineering, information technology and materials technology as well as mechanics.

Courses such as Vehicle Construction or Automobile Production deal with the series production of motor vehicles and cover areas such as automotive or production technology as well as electronic/mechanical systems. There are also modules such as automobile structure/body, automotive electronics, drive, transmission and chassis technology, measurement and sensor technology, human-machine interface, system theory and system technology, simulation technology, control and regulation technology, thermodynamics, CAD/CAE/CAM tools, Manufacturing processes, automation and assembly as well as quality management.

Building on basic engineering subjects, the traffic engineering/traffic engineering degree program expands traffic-specific knowledge in areas such as planning and operation in traffic, mobility and traffic research, traffic management, vehicle technology, testing and approval as well as, if necessary, aerospace engineering or ship and marine technology. There are also modules from the areas of Economics, Law, Humanities and Social sciences.

In the aerospace engineering course, in addition to the engineering and technical basics, economic, legal and social science knowledge is imparted. There are also application-related modules such as aerodynamics, design and construction, manufacturing technology, flight mechanics, lightweight construction, engine construction, machine dynamics, control engineering, fluid mechanics and materials technology. In addition, technical English, business and work organization, cost accounting and management knowledge are taught. In rare cases, the course is combined with pilot training (ATPL). Depending on the offer, the master's program focuses on areas such as aircraft construction, lightweight construction technology, engine or space technology.

In Ship and Marine Technology, in addition to the basic engineering principles, the curriculum includes subjects such as welding technology, hydromechanics, ship elements, buoyancy and stability. This is followed by special application modules such as shipbuilding, equipment, design and construction of ships, ship engineering, ship electronics, measurement technology in shipbuilding, manufacturing and shipyard operations. Students complete practical work-related study components in the form of industrial or research projects. Emphasis can be placed on subjects such as ship design, hydrodynamics and yacht design, construction, ship strength and ship equipment.

The nautical course offers application-oriented introductory courses on navigation, ship safety, computer science and labor law. This is followed by an in-depth look at the areas of ship management, maritime traffic safety and environmental protection, cargo technology and safety as well as human resources management and maritime business management. There are compulsory elective modules in the areas of nautical science/technology or economics/law. There are also training trips and simulator training. In addition to their university degree, students usually also acquire a qualification as a nautical or technical watch officer.

In the ship operations engineering course, the curriculum includes modules in the areas of maritime economics, maritime English, personnel management and operating and hazardous substances. Specializations are possible in subjects such as internal combustion engines/turbines, work machines and systems engineering, machine dynamics, steam, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, operating materials and environmental protection technology, ship automation, ship electrical engineering, ship engine systems, ship engine operation and maintenance. There are also modules in the areas of public law and maritime law as well as operational management and occupational safety. In addition to laboratory exercises on running machines, exercises are also carried out on the simulator.

When studying maritime transport and port economics, there are modules on the basics as well as on legal and business aspects. There are also basics in port and transport economics, logistics/port logistics, chemistry, dangerous cargo, ship theory, telematics, chartering and affreightment, marketing/sales, business management, foreign languages and presentation techniques.

Admission criteria & application for study

A preparatory internship lasting several weeks is often mandatory before starting your studies. For some courses, such as ship operations engineering, special admission requirements apply, such as completed vocational training as a ship mechanic in a recognized training occupation in metal or electrical engineering including one year of seafaring time or approved practical training and seafaring time as a technical assistant officer.

Career opportunities after graduation

Engineers for Electromobility find employment in vehicle construction companies, with suppliers to the vehicle industry, in engineering offices for technical planning or in energy supply companies. In addition, they may also work in research institutes.

Vehicle Technology Engineers find employment in the automotive industry with manufacturers of motor vehicle parts, accessories, car bodies and trailers, with car suppliers and in rail vehicle construction.

Traffic Engineers Work, among other things, at transport companies, transport and logistics companies, in traffic control centers, associations, technical monitoring associations, in public administration, as experts, as freelancers or in engineering offices, in software companies, research institutions and universities.

Aerospace Engineers work in aircraft and engine manufacturing companies. In addition, jobs at airlines, airports, in the automotive industry, the wind power industry, at universities and research institutions as well as at engineering offices or management consultancies are also possible.

Marine Engineers find employment in the shipyard industry, in ship equipment companies, classification societies, shipbuilding and hydraulic engineering research institutes, in “independent” engineering offices, at shipping companies and authorities (e.g. waterways and shipping authorities).

• Graduates of the Maritime Technologies course of study find fields of application in all areas that involve the technological use of the sea, such as the offshore supply industry and offshore energy use, technical operations in development activities, fishing and the fishing industry, and shipbuilding.

Ship Engineers (Technical ship officers) and nautical ship officers or captains work in particular in the technical and maritime management of cargo and passenger ships, in salvage shipping as well as in port, survey and research shipping.

Engineers in the Maritime transport and port industry work at land organizations of maritime transport companies, shipping and other freight forwarding companies, port and warehouse companies, consulting companies or port authorities.