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Driving Innovation: The Functional Safety Engineer Revolutionizing Electric Vehicles

By Pau Castillo

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According to a report by the International Energy Agency, global sales of electric vehicles increased by 41% in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also predicts that the number of electric cars on the road could reach 145 million by 2030. With the rising demand for electric vehicles, functional safety engineers have become increasingly important in developing electric cars. The electric vehicle market is expected to continue its growth trajectory, and functional safety engineers will play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and reliability of these vehicles.

Meet Ashwin Venkitaraman, a functional safety engineer in the automotive industry with more than seven years of experience who has played a critical role in revolutionizing the safety of electric vehicles. His vast knowledge and expertise in functional safety engineering have made him an essential contributor to the development of electric vehicles.

Novel safety mechanism for electric vehicles

Ashwin has been working closely with other engineers to ensure the safety of vehicles' electronic systems. He has worked with startups such as Byton and large companies like Ford and Fiat Chrysler. In his current role at Rivian, he has significantly contributed to the design of safety-critical systems such as the battery management system, traction control, and regenerative braking system.

One of Ashwin's most significant contributions to electric vehicles is creating a novel safety mechanism for the battery management system. Many leading automotive companies have adopted this innovation, becoming a standard feature in the industry. Ashwin says, "Fire hazards due to compact electric vehicles, especially two-wheelers, are an unspoken malice. Critical design reviews at the initial design stages are needed to make the BMS system robust and fire-proof."

In addition, Ashwin has developed a safety system for the regenerative braking system in electric cars, ensuring that the vehicle can come to a safe stop even if the regenerative braking system fails. This system has also been incorporated into several leading electric vehicles, enhancing their safety. Ashwin adds, "While solving the issue of range anxiety, phantom braking, and regenerative braking issues are sometimes forgotten. Caution must be taken to have safety mechanisms and fail-safe reactions in place to make EVs functionally safe".

Significant contributions to the future of transportation

Ashwin's contributions to functional safety engineering in the automotive industry have earned him recognition through several awards, including India's Young Achiever Award and the IEE Outstanding Contribution Award. Furthermore, his research on functional safety engineering has been published in top-tier journals and is widely cited in the field.

Thanks to Ashwin's innovative designs of safety-critical systems, electric vehicles are now safer, more reliable, and poised to become the future of transportation. Undoubtedly, Ashwin Venkitaraman is a driving force in the automotive industry, and his exceptional contributions to functional safety engineering in the development of electric vehicles have been invaluable.