Unique Courses 2016: Career opportunities in Transportation Design
Harshita Das, 05 Dec 2016
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Amol Bhangare is driven by his passion to find solutions to mobility-related problems in daily life. As a part of his M.Des (Mobility and Vehicle design) programme at IDC-IIT Bombay, he did a project titled ‘Bionics in Mobility Design’ which resulted in a two-wheeler goods vehicle. “A large number of people use two-wheelers to commute. Most of them need to carry goods on it. They attach crates to their vehicle or often they hang bags on the side or handle bars. Goods carrying capacity is limited and keeping it stable becomes difficult,” says Bhangare, explaining the project’s rationale (See Box).

Bionics in Mobility Design

The project was an attempt to solve mobility problem using bionics approach. I took inspiration from honeypot ants, which collect and store honey in their gaster. The secret to this ability to store honey lies in its skin structure, which is made up from resilin and chitin. Experiments were carried out to mimic such skin by combining silicon with High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and latex with styrene. This skin so obtained can help constraining cargo on bike and can eliminate use of ropes and crates. This exploration was carried out for bike to provide more space for carrying goods. The HDPE & latex skin forms a mould around the cargo and it can be quickly constrained. This bike (See picture above) can be a replacement for commuters or delivery boys who carry a number of goods on their vehicle daily.  

Amol Bhangare
Alumnus, IS-IIT Bombay

Transportation designers play a big role in the eye-catching designs of cars and bikes. The Auto Expo, one of the biggest events of the India automotive industry, showcases a host of new car models by volume sellers like Maruti and Honda and luxury brands like Mercedes Benz, Jaguar and BMW. If you can connect your creativity with engineering principles, you can choose to pursue a highly competitive career of an automobile designer.

Prof. Amarendra Kumar DasProf. Amarendra Kumar Das

Department of Design

IIT Guwahati


One has to be passionate about transport design to make it a successful profession. One needs to be creative in creating forms, should have excellent skills for sketching and illustration and rendering. However, you do not need to be an engineer to be a transport designer.


Transportation Design

Transportation or Automobile Design is a specialized branch of Industrial Design. The course is not just limited to designing cars but designing of motorcycles, marine craft, airplanes, commercial transport such as semi-trucks, small personal mobility vehicles, and public transport like buses and trains. A designer first conceptualizes an idea followed by putting it on paper. Once the design is finalized, ensuring safety, its operation within regulatory parameters, appearance and comfort by means of a prototype, it goes for manufacture. The whole process concludes with testing of the final product.


Driving demand

The first impression a car can make on a customer is by its appearance and car styling is the job of a transport or automobile designer. The role of transport designers is to design exterior components like the headlamp, interiors including dashboard, executive seats, and other high-end features of a car or bike. A designer conceptualizes a design for futuristic use of the consumers.

Prof. Gaurang ShahProf. Gaurang Shah

Head of Department of Transportation Design
MAEER’s MIT Institute of Design


Styling is an important aspect for customer. Differentiation of a vehicle comes strongly through styling as it helps customers decide during the time of purchase. Designers are responsible for creating utility interface in a vehicle to set mood for the drivers/riders

Eligibility and learning

You can join an undergraduate programme in Transport Design if you have passed 10+2 in any stream --Science/Commerce/Arts. The minimum aggregate marks and admission criteria vary from institute to institute.


The curriculum of Transport design course, which ranges from three to five years, includes understanding basic design process. Students learn basics of forms and volumes, curves and its nature, materials, rendering, ergonomics, history of automotive design, automotive modeling, 3D modeling, introduction to technologies, and aerodynamics. Studio learning and designing projects are critical components of this challenging course.


Internships during Bachelor’s programme play an important part as it helps the students to understand the requirements of industry and develop a professional portfolio as well.


Where can you study?

In India, automobile and transport designing is included as a part of product design or industrial design curriculum. However, some institutes offer a separate programme. DYPDC Center for Automotive Research and Studies (Pune) offers three-year B.Des programme in Automobile Design. In MAEER’s MIT Institute of Design (Pune), under the four-year Industrial Design programme, you can specialize in Transportation Design. Institutes also have programmes in collaboration with institutions abroad. Candidates who have qualified in UCEED are eligible for Bachelor’s of Design programmes at IIT Bombay; IIT Guwahati; or IIITDM Jabalpur.  


Higher studies

The automotive industry is moving extremely fast because of evolving technology. A higher education in the field of automotive designing helps one to understand subjects in depth. After graduating, an array of options is available. Indian institutes usually offer two-year Master of Design or Post Graduate Diploma courses. The two-year Post Graduate Diploma programme in MAEER’s MIT Institute of Design is an intensive professional programme. Department of Design-IIT Guwahati offer M.Des. DYPDC Center for Automotive Research and Studies also offers two-year Post Graduate programme. DSK International, (Pune) offers a five-year programme in Transport Design, which also includes study of digital management as well.


Career prospects

With automobile sector rapidly growing, India is likely to be the third-largest passenger car market by 2020 and automotive designers are high in demand. The industry is facing competition not only from domestic but also international brands. Thus, there is a rising demand for designers who can make a difference with their design. You can be employed in the R& D departments of top automobile manufacturing industry or work as a freelance designer.


The top recruiters in India are, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto, Honda Cars India, General Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, Royal Enfield, and TVS to name a few.


A designer is generally paid as per industry standards. However, a fresher transport designer can begin his/her career with a minimum pay package of 8-10 lakh per annum, which increases to more than 15 lakhs with experience.


Hrridaysh Deshpande, Director of DYPDC School of Design & School of Film and Media, has a word of advice for students who want to make a career in this practice-based discipline. “The growing automobile industry in India is highly competitive and the designing component is growing vis-à-vis. There is no scope for mediocre or middle-level designers. One needs to be extraordinarily good to get absorbed into the industry,” he rounds off. 

Tutu DhawanExpert Speak


Tutu Dhawan

Automotive Restoration Expert


Booming career in automobile sector


India is one of the biggest and the largest economies in Asia. According to a study by the Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public enterprises, the design and manufacturing of automobiles and its components would account for 10 percent of the GDP, thereby giving employment to 25 million people by the end of 2016, making it one of the best choices as a career option.


With electric and hybrid vehicles as the next big venture in the industrial development, the opportunities are even bigger with most automobile manufacturers in India opening large R&D centres for development of their future products.  Keeping in mind this change in the automobile industry, it is now only logical to assume that the next big employment opportunity is going to be here itself, whether indigenous or looking at the world market.


The new avenues opening up for R&D is not only in the design factor but the allied vendors who will be required to support the industry. In today’s world of automobile manufacturing only 10 to 15 percent of the actual vehicle is manufactured under one roof. The rest is on-time delivery of components that create a vehicle in the shortest possible time. Jobs are going to be aplenty in this segment. One will only have to choose the right stream.  


Tutu Dhawan was National Champion in the Himalayan Rally’85 and the first Indian to finish fourth overall.

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