Automotive Mechatronics is a life-cycle activity that involves the multidisciplinary integration of automotive mechanical and electronic systems. You will gain skills across automotive-specific mechanics, electronics, communication, advanced control and modelling.


  • Start dateOctober
  • DurationOne year full-time
  • DeliveryTaught component (50%), Group project (10%), Individual research project (40%)
  • QualificationMSc
  • Study typeFull-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

The MSc in Automotive Mechatronics is a recently established course, developed to respond to the clear demand in the sector for graduates with advanced skills and education in the specialised field. The significant increase in the application of mechatronics has created an industry need for this Masters degree. This course is designed for students with a solid engineering, mathematics or applied science undergraduate degree who want to strive for a skill set which combines electrical, mechanical, digital control systems and physical system modelling.

Why this course?

We have extensive strategic links with the automotive industry and key players in the forefront of automotive research and development. This high level of engagement with industry through short courses, consultancy and research makes our graduates some of the most desirable in the UK and abroad for companies to recruit.

We are well located for visiting students from all over the world, and offers a range of library and support facilities to support your studies.

Informed by Industry

The MSc in Automotive Mechantronics is directed by an Industrial Advisory Panel comprising senior engineers from the automotive sector. This maintains course relevancy and ensures that graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge required by leading employers. You will have the opportunity to meet this panel and present your individual research project to them at an annual event held in July. Panel members include:

  • Mr Rod J Calvert OBE (Chair), Automotive Management Consultant
  • Mr Steven Miles, Ford Motor Company Ltd
  • Mr Clive Crewe, AVL
  • Mr Peter Stoker, Millbrook
  • Mr Stefan Strahnz, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
  • Mr Simon Dowson, Delta Motorsport
  • Mr Paul McCarthy, JCB Power Systems
  • Mr Steve Swift, Emerald Automotive
  • Mr Steve Henson, Barclays
  • Dr Leon Rosario, Ricardo
  • Mr David Hudson, Tata Motors
  • Mr Tobias Knichel, Punch Flybrid Limited
  • Mr Iain Bomphray, Williams Advanced Engineering
  • Mr Keith Benjamin, Jaguar Land Rover
  • Mr Doug Cross, Flybrid Automotive Ltd

Course details

This course is made up of nine taught compulsory modules, which are generally delivered from October to March. During the first term you will take modules in core automotive subjects, such as vehicle dynamics, design, vehicle performance, powertrain technology and vehicle structures.

In the second term, you will undertake a bespoke programme of study geared towards a greater understanding of physical systems, advanced control system design and rapid prototyping.

Course delivery

Taught component (50%), Group project (10%), Individual research project (40%)

Group project

You will undertake a substantial group project between October and March, which focuses on designing and optimising a particular vehicle system/assembly. This is designed to prepare you for the project-based working environment within the majority of the automotive industry.

Presentations are arranged to the Industrial Advisory Panel members (consisting of practising automotive engineers and managers), academic staff and fellow students, to market the product and demonstrate technical expertise. These presentations give you the opportunity to develop your presentation skills and effectively handle questions about complex issues in a professional manner.

The Automotive Mechatronics MSc Group Design Project presentations will be held on 8th March 2018. If you would like to attend please contact 

View our Automotive programme 2017

Individual project

After having gained an excellent understanding of methods and applications, you will work full-time (May to September) on an individual research project. This research project will allow you to delve deeper into an area of specific interest, taking the theory from the taught modules and joining it with practical experience. A list of suggested topics is provided, and includes projects proposed by staff and industry sponsors, associated with current research projects.  

It is clear that the modern design engineer cannot be divorced from the commercial world. In order to provide practice in this matter, a poster presentation and written report will be required from all students, and the research findings presented to the academic staff as well as the Industrial Advisory Panel members.


Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.

Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Vehicle Design Powertrain and Performance

Module Leader
  • Dr Marko Tirovic
    • Provide deep understanding of vehicle concepts and designs, including major systems, assemblies and components.
    • Establish approaches and procedures to analysing and predicting vehicle performance.
    • Develop methodologies to predicting critical loading cases, selecting materials and manufacturing methods, dimensioning and fully specifying vehicle systems, assemblies and components.
    • Critically evaluate the integration of different alternative powertrain options and be able to select appropriate solutions within the context of realistic constraints on performance, efficiency, and drivability.
    • Qualify students to generate novel automotive vehicle concepts and designs that are passenger friendly, structurally sound, safe, fuel efficient, environmentally friendly, refined and comply with legislation.

    Basic vehicle characteristics: Vehicle concepts, centre of gravity position, static and dynamic loads and weight distributions, front, rear and all wheel drive. Adhesion coefficient and influencing factors. Traction, braking and resistance to motion.

    Vehicle performance: Maximum speed, hill start and climbing. Over and under gearing. Fixed and variable gear ratios: number and distribution of gear ratios. Methods for determining acceleration through the gears.

    Fuel consumption: Engine characteristics & fuel maps. Determination of fuel consumption. Energy aspects. Legislative Drive Cycles.

    Braking performance: Influence of resistances and inertia. Brake force distribution. ECE 13 legislation. Calculation of required braking characteristics. Stopping distance.

    Vehicle as a complex system: Understanding conceptual and compatibility issues regarding vehicle structure, engine, transmission, suspension, packaging and influence on vehicle performance.

    Ergonomics & Packaging: Seating layout, door accessibility, mechanical layout: engine/transmission positions, drivelines, influence of suspensions on space and structure, ground clearance, front and rear approach angles.

    Safety: Principles of passenger restraints, elastic/plastic restraints, energy dissipation, rebound energy (whiplash). Vehicle restraint systems and safety features. Hybrid and electric vehicle safety considerations.

    Legislation: Introduction to regulations, European directories, USA federal motor vehicle safety standards. Understanding the influence of relevant legislation on vehicle systems design.

    Driveline components: Friction clutches, dry and wet. Final drives, spiral, bevel, hypoid and helical gears. Differentials, description of open, viscous, Torsen and other limited slip differentials. Design characteristics and principles. Velocity ratios of Hooke’s joints, design characteristics of various constant velocity joints.

    Manual & automatic transmissions: Description of gearbox layout and gear change mechanisms. Gearbox loads & design principles. Synchromesh mechanisms, theory of synchronisation. Epicyclic gears, torque converter, gear combinations & configurations. Automated manual & dual clutch transmissions. Continuously variable transmissions. Actuation, system operation & performance characteristics.

    Hybrid and electric vehicles: Basic definitions, HEV and EV architectures, advantages and disadvantages. Electrical and mechanical energy storage technologies including battery management considerations.

    Brakes and braking systems: Disc and drum brakes, braking systems – design, dimensioning and evaluation. Materials, manufacturing methods and testing.

    Vehicle refinement: Basic details of noise vibration and harshness and attributes for vehicle refinement.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Assess and critically evaluate various vehicle concepts, determine their characteristics, advantages and limitations. Analyse various vehicle, system and assembly designs; compare their characteristics, advantages and limitations using valid criteria.
2. Interpret and apply legislative requirements in generating vehicle concepts and designs.
3. Predict resistances to motion, determine powertrain system characteristics, calculate vehicle performance (max. speed, acceleration, gradient, fuel economy, CO2 emissions etc).
4. Generate novel vehicle concepts, match characteristics of powertrain systems and components; optimise vehicle performance characteristics for the selected criteria / benchmarks.
5. Demonstrate understanding of hybrid vehicle architectures and their technologies.
6. Generate new vehicle, system, assembly and component designs, dimension and optimise them for the specified critical load cases, materials and manufacturing methods. Perform all necessary activities in order to ensure the vehicles and systems are efficient, safe, and comply with regulations.

Engine Design and Performance

Module Leader
  • Dr Glenn Sherwood

    The aim of this module is to:

      • Equip students with the necessary skills to understand the mechanics of powertrain systems for automotive applications.
      • Equip students with knowledge to be able to evaluate the impact of powertrain systems on global emissions.

    The module includes a systems view of engine technology including:

    • Performance and emissions targets
    • Engine layouts and thermodynamic cycles
    • Basic Powertrain architectural options for electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
    • Combustion thermochemistry
    • Fuel types and properties
    • Combustion in petrol and diesel engines
    • Ignition and ignition timing
    • Engine breathing
    • Fuel injection systems
    • Engine cooling
    • Exhaust after treatment
    • Advanced and future engine technologies
    • Tribology of bearing design
    • Frictional losses
    • Lubrication

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Identify and critically assess different engines for automotive applications.
2. Critically assess the main factors that result in global emissions from engines.
3. Evaluate and critically assess global legislation of automotive emissions.
4. Evaluate the contribution of engines as prime mover in vehicles within a Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legislative and Environmental framework.
5. Evaluate and critically assess the methods of emissions abatement for vehicles.

Automotive Control and Simulation

Module Leader
  • Dr Daniel Auger

    • To equip students with the skills needed to understand, design and assess single-variable feedback control algorithms using classical control techniques for use in automotive systems.
    • To introduce students to MATLAB and Simulink, industry-standard CAD tools for control system design.


    The module will provide knowledge in advanced control design tools and techniques and advance analytical methods in designing multivariable controllers with applications in the automotive engineering area. The theory of the multivariable controls will be introduced and then their use will be illustrated and developed by example applications. The theory and applications will be interleaved with selected associated topics (listed below) as appropriate through the module.

    The material will be addressed theoretically and practically: all lecture-based teaching will be supported by practical exercises using MATLAB and Simulink.
    • Revision of key concepts (covered only in outline)
    o Representing mechanical and electrical systems using differential equations
    o Use of Laplace methods
    o Transfer functions, poles and transmission zeros, and frequency responses
    o Convolution and time-domain responses

    • Creating computer models in MATLAB and Simulink
    o Introduction to MATLAB programming
    o Introduction to modelling and simulation in Simulink
    o Linear system analysis in MATLAB
    o Finding operating points and linear models using MATLAB and Simulink

    • Classical control concepts
    o Key feedback concepts: stability, tracking performance, noise/disturbance rejection
    o Relationships between closed-loop functions S(s), T(s) and loop-gain L(s)
    o Nyquist stability criterion for stable systems, gain/phase margin and Bode diagram

    • Classical control design
    o Frequency-domain loop-shaping
    o PID design and its relationship to frequency-domain loop-shaping
    o Introduction to prefilter design and ‘feed-forward’
    o Actuator saturation, noise and integrator wind-up

    • Estimator (state observer) design
    o Introduction to linear state-space representations
    o Estimator design using pole-placement methods

Intended learning outcomes
  • On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
    1. Evaluate an automotive system (in terms of its performance, robustness, and sensitivity to noise and disturbances) using classical control concepts and methods.
    2. Design feedback control algorithms to meet specified performance requirements using frequency-domain ‘loop-shaping’ methods and PID techniques, and to understand trade-offs and limitations on what can be achieved.
    3. Create Simulink simulations of multi-domain automotive systems suitable for performance analysis and control system design, and assess control systems with these models.
    4. Evaluate operating points and construct linearized state-space and transfer function modules using MATLAB and Simulink.
    5. Construct a linear observer (state estimator) using pole-placement methods, and inspect its behaviour using MATLAB and Simulink.

Vehicle Dynamics

Module Leader
  • Dr Efstathios Velenis
    • To provide a fundamental understanding of vehicle dynamics as applied to wheeled vehicles.
    • To introduce students to the ride and handling, from requirements (subjective and objective) to analytical modelling and practical viewpoints.
    • To provide students with skills and knowledge to tackle dynamic aspects of vehicle design, development and testing including the impact of active chassis and driveline systems.

    The module will provide knowledge in vehicle dynamics ride and handling from subjective and objective requirements to analytical methods in developing passive ride and handling models.

    Core Vehicle Dynamics Topics:

    1. Vehicle Ride
    a. Objective and subjective assessment
    a. Ride modelling
    b. Terrain modelling

    2. Vehicle Handling
    a. Objective and subjective assessment
    b. Handling Modelling both steady-state and transient handling

    3. Tyre
    a. General tyre models
    b. Combined ride and handling
    c. Model with non-linear tyres

    4. Overview to active systems, including, but not restricted to; ABS, TCS and stability control

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Evaluate the objective and subjective requirements for the vehicle dynamics ride and handling analysis and design.
2. Construct vehicle models using Matlab/Simulink and interpret the simulation results accordingly.
3. Demonstrate through the use of simplified vehicle dynamics models, an understanding of the fundamentals of vehicle ride and handling.
4. Critically evaluate different vehicle designs and modelling techniques in relation to vehicle ride and handling.

Mechatronics Modelling for Vehicle Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Stefano Longo
    • To provide a fundamental understanding of physical modelling applied to vehicles mechatronic systems.
    • To introduce students to modelling techniques, from basic methodology to graphical modelling and practical viewpoints.
    • To illustrate the role of first principle and data-driven modelling.

    Course content includes:
    • Introduction to mathematical modelling
    • Modelling from first principle
    • Newtonian and Lagrangian modelling
    • Electric circuits and networks
    • Modelling from data and system identification
    • Modelling of delays
    • Block diagram reduction
    • Powertrain backward and forward modelling
    • Modelling for vehicle dynamics and tyre-surface interaction
    • Modelling with Matlab/Simulink

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Compare and criticise the different analogies that can be made between all system dynamics.
2. Experiment with fundamental concepts of mechatronics systems to design simplified system dynamics models.
3. Evaluate and construct mechatronics models using state-space models derived from system identification, Newtonian equation and Lagrangian equations.
4. Construct state-space equations for the purpose of control system design.
5. Appraise mechatronics models and the simulations results obtained within the context of practical automotive design concepts, performance and constraints.

Vehicle Control Applications


    Across the complete range of ground vehicle domains, including powertrain and chassis electronics, the aim of this module is for students to evaluate the so called x-by-wire systems and to propose new solutions based on future requirements for higher levels of vehicle automation and safety by using more intelligent control systems.


    • An introduction to automated driving and autonomous land vehicles
    • Vehicle user interfaces and driver-automation collaboration
    • Applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning in intelligent vehicle control systems
    • Functional safety within vehicle control systems
    • Vehicle steering control
    • Vehicle chassis control systems and integration
    • Electric and hybrid electric powertrain control systems
    • Engine control
    • Battery control and estimation for vehicle application

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Critically evaluate the physical configuration of a vehicle sub-system and be able to formulate new control design solutions appropriate for integration within a vehicle.
2. Appraise a set of vehicle performance targets for higher levels of automation and safety, more energy conservation and less environmental impacts and be able to select the most appropriate control methods and design techniques to meet the vehicle specification.
3. Analyse and evaluate the applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques in vehicle control architectures to improve the vehicle performance measures such as higher levels of automation and safety, more energy conservation and less environmental impacts.

Advanced Control and Optimisation

Module Leader
  • Dr Daniel Auger
    • To provide knowledge of advanced control engineering theory and techniques and their application to automotive control.
    • To introduce students to the tools and methodology associated with multivariable control design techniques.
    • To provide students with practical experience in designing and simulating advanced modern controllers within the context of multi-domain automotive systems.

    The module will provide knowledge in advanced control design tools and techniques and advance analytical methods in designing multivariable controllers with applications in the automotive engineering area. The theory of the multivariable controls will be introduced and then their use will be illustrated and developed by example applications. The theory and applications will be interleaved with selected associated topics (listed below) as appropriate through the module.

    The material will be addressed theoretically and practically: all lecture-based teaching will be supported by practical exercises using MATLAB and Simulink.

    • Modelling multivariable systems
    o Describing multivariable systems using state-space representations
    o Using norms to describe the sizes and behaviours of signals and systems
    o Modelling uncertainty, noise and nonlinearities
    o The Nyquist stability criterion and robustness

    • Using optimisation in multivariable control
    o Representing feedback using state-space techniques
    o Pole-placement techniques
    o Optimal control using the Linear-Quadratic Regulator (LQR)
    o Introduction to Model-Predictive Control (MPC)

    • Estimator design
    o Multivariable estimator design using pole-placement techniques
    o Optimal estimator design for linear systems using the Kalman Filter
    o Introduction to optimal control using Linear-Quadratic-Gaussian (LQG) techniques
    o Introduction to nonlinear Kalman filtering techniques

    • Neoclassical control
    o SISO design using the Youla parameter technique
    o Direct shaping of S(s) and T(s) and the associated stability criteria

    • Robust control
    o H∞ control methods: ‘mixed sensitivity’ and ‘H∞ loop-shaping’
    o Estimating robust performance using the v-gap metric

    • Reference conditioning using prefilters and two degree-of-freedom compensators (covered in outline only)

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Create theoretical and computer models of multivariable automotive systems suitable for use in control design.
2. Apply different advanced control techniques to automotive control problems.
3. Design control algorithms for automotive systems using MATLAB and Simulink (commercial software packages).
4. Design state estimators for multivariable automotive control systems using established techniques.
5. Judge the suitability of a given control technique to a particular application in the context of automotive control.

Embedded Vehicle Control Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Stefano Longo

    Within the context of modern automotive control system, the aim of this module is for students to critically evaluate the different technologies and methods required for the efficient vehicle implementation, validation and verification of the automotive mechatronic system.


    Course content includes:

    • A review of modern automotive control hardware requirements and architectures
    • The evaluation of current and future vehicle networking technologies including, CAN, LIN, MOST and Flex-ray
    • The evaluation of control rapid prototyping techniques to design and calibrate the control algorithm
    • The use of modern validation and verification methods, such as software-in-the-loop, and hardware-in-the-loop techniques
    • The role of Functional Safety and ISO26262 within the overall control system life-cycle
    • The evaluation of the interdependency between software engineering and control system design within the automotive industry including the use of software auto-coding techniques for production and the use of advanced test methods for the validation of safety-critical systems

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Analyze the components of an automotive control systems and its implementation.
2. Design and implement a digital controller.
3. Evaluate the effect of sampling times, communication delays and quantization errors in a feedback loop.
4. Write efficient Matlab code for data coding/decoding and control algorithm implementation.
5. Interpret the purpose of the ISO26262 functional safety standard and the AUTOSAR standardized automotive software design.

Vehicle Electrification and Hybridisation


    The aim of this module is to empower the students with the capability to analysis, synthesis, and evaluate various technologies and integration challenges associated with the electric and hybrid vehicles. The module is structured to provide an in-depth knowledge and expertise for design and development of the main systems, components, architectures of the Hybrid and Electric Vehicles. The module includes case-studies of commercially available Hybrid and Electric vehicles and current research projects.

    Course content includes:
    • Introduction to Hybrid and Electric Vehicles systems and powertrain architectures.
    • Introduction to Electric Motors, Power Electronics and Electric Drives, and Motor Control.
    • High voltage electrical architectures and the integration of power electronics systems
    • Automotive energy storage systems:
      o Batteries, ultracapacitors, flywheels and hydraulic accumulators
      o System design, integration and energy management
    • The integration of electrical machines and their electric drive systems
      o Technology options
      o System design and sizing
    • The mechanical integration of the hybrid propulsion system including the use of split-path transmissions
    • Energy Management and supervisory control for CO2 reduction, fuel saving, vehicle performance and driveability
    • The role of energy recovery systems including regenerative brake strategies and vehicle integration challenges
    • Modelling, simulation and analysis of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles and its sub-systems, using model based approach, including Mil, SiL, and HiL
    • Recent Electric and Hybrid vehicle technologies case studies

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Evaluate the different Hybrid & Electric powertrain architecture options and be able to propose appropriate solutions within realistic performance, fuel economy, emission and commercial constraints.
2. Evaluate energy storage and energy management technology options for a hybrid or electric vehicle and be able to judge between different technologies relative to a given vehicle application and overall system design.
3. Demonstrate an ability to design and/or size different Hybrid and Electric Vehicle sub-systems, within the context of vehicle usage, weight, packaging, and range constraints.

Automotive Mechatronics Induction

Fundamentals of Road Vehicle Engineering


This MSc degree is accredited by The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and The Insitution of Engineering & Technology (IET) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

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I believe Cranfield was the best choice for me because Automotive Mechatronics it is the future of the automotive industry. We work in different principles like electrified vehicles, autonomous vehicles and lots more that cover all automotive aspects. I have really enjoyed all of the modules, and am looking forward to writing my thesis – it’s really important that Cranfield provides a company-based thesis for our future.

Cranfield’s industry links are very useful because we have the ability to network staff in different companies, inside the automotive industry. Through this networking, we can use this knowledge to go further.

The industry links and the amount of external people that have come to the university to teach us for specific topics of the applied study. For example, we had someone come in for vehicle dynamics – just to cover tyre dynamics. Then we had other people just covering suspension, and people from specific fields which was very, very interesting – and how we apply it at laboratories in the assignments that we do.

Your career

This course will take you on to an excellent career as a qualified engineer of the highest standard in the field of Automotive Mechatronics, capable of contributing significantly to the increased demand for experts in the field of vehicle electrification. The broad application of automotive mechatronics opens a wide range of career opportunities within the automotive sector. 

Expected careers paths for graduates who have successfully completed the MSc in Automotive Mechatronics include further research or employment within internationally leading vehicle manufacturers and engineering consultancies and tier 1 suppliers to the automotive industry.

How to apply

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at this time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.