Engineers at GETRAG
Director Software & Calibration
We drive the prototype cars.
1. Please give us a brief introduction to the tasks in your department.
No automatic transmission operates without software anymore. But we do not just develop the software, but also the electronic hardware to run it. The latter is in conjunction with our suppliers. With software it is a question of first writing the control programme in order to validate it in simulations and finally to calibrate it in test vehicles, thus tweaking it to the desired shifting and driving performance. You can say that the software is the glue holding the other parts together in an automatic transmission. Therefore we are also in constant contact with every other development department.
2. What project do you currently have on your desk?
Right now we are working on optimising our DCT portfolio, to be precise on the control of actuators or mechanical regulators. Our software programmers must therefore have a good knowledge of physics. The interaction between mechanics and digital code is a great challenge.
3. How is your team comprised?
There are about 80 of us, almost all are engineers and their ages range from between 22 to 58. For me that is a good mixture of curiosity, flexibility and experience. Many have a background in electrical engineering/electronics or IT. Young colleagues join us as project staff. After two to three years they then have enough experience to work on more physically complex functionalities. Then there is the opportunity to take on a lot more personal responsibility as a lead engineer.
4. What kind of working environment can new colleagues expect in your department?
I place great value on taking decisions together with my team, therefore taking in all points of view and also substantiating them well. Perhaps that lies in the nature of what we do: Software runs hardware, therefore our focus is on good interaction between colleagues. The cliché of the computer nerd does not apply to us: Software today is so complex and a developer must be able to work extremely well as part of a team and also negotiate face to face with the customers.
The payback for this is that our software developers are often able to ‘experience’ their work themselves, namely in our customers’ prototype cars that are still secret. For this reason they are always off on test drives around the world such as in Sweden or the USA.
5. What makes you particularly proud about your work?
When I started at Transmission Systems in 1994, software was something completely new. Only two years later we started producing the world’s first software-controlled automatic transmission.
Frank Nageleisen studied technical IT at Furtwangen University and his team members work in Cologne, Untergruppenbach and St. Georgen.