The Industrial Technology — Vehicle Design program prepares graduates for design, product development and manufacturing in the automotive, marine, aerospace, composites, and alternative fuel industries. The program uses hands-on vehicle research, design and development projects to educate students, and students gain an understanding of the tools, materials and processes used in industry.
Vehicle designers draft layouts for automobile components, assemblies, and systems using sketches, models, and prototypes from their knowledge of engineering principles, based on automobile function. The work of an auto designer combines artistry with technical and scientific know-how. The finished designs incorporate aesthetic and functional concerns within the practical framework of business and manufacturing.
Western is also home to the Vehicle Research Institute (VRI). The institute focuses on complete vehicle design and fabrication and developing hybrid electrical and natural gas/biomethane vehicle technology. More than 50 vehicles have been built by VRI students since 1972.