LAS VEGAS — Jan Schulte is CEO for the U.S. operations of EDAG Group, a German engineering services company that handles vehicle development, powertrains, factory processes and paint plants. Schulte, 39, has engineers working across a broad range of automaker and supplier projects in North America. He met with customers at CES in Las Vegas, where he also spoke with News Editor Lindsay Chappell. Here are edited excerpts.
Engineering fear and loathing in Las Vegas
Q: What's it like to work with startup companies in the industry?
A: It's not always easy. They have innovative new ideas. You certainly don't want to discourage their product visions. But as engineers, we have to make things in reality, and sometimes an initial idea isn't practical for mass production.
The laws of physics never change, of course. But your tools do. Is anything making it easier today to deliver engineering solutions?
AI is. It has great promise for how we engineer a vehicle platform.
Yes. We know we're experiencing an AI revolution inside the car and in how the vehicle operates. You must agree that it also will be of use in creating that car.
So someday soon, through automated engineering, maybe we won't have so many engineers?
That's true in some ways, and I believe the engineering community in Detroit is nervous about this. But this evolution has been happening for a long time.
Society today already has more automation than ever before, yet we're at record employment levels. So I'm not sure we have so much to fear.
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