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Automotive engineering is about the design, manufacturing, and operation of cars, motorcycles, trucks, and other automobiles. Within automotive engineering there are a variety of sub disciplines including safety, performance, vehicle dynamics, fuel economy, cost, manufacturing, and more.
For those who want to go into automotive engineering, note that most colleges don't offer it as a major in terms of undergrad. The most common major for people to begin with is actually mechanical engineering. Then after you get your bachelor's you either go into the workforce in the automotive industry, or pursue further education specifically in automotive engineering.
While in school you will want to get as much exposure to the field by joining clubs like the society of automotive engineers so you can participate in various competitions. This will give you something to put on your resume and get you that hands on experience that is so valuable for your career.
One big area of research at the moment is self driving cars. This is where you'll see much more than just mechanical engineering working on these vehicles. People from all disciplines including electrical engineers, computer engineers, materials engineers, computer scientists, and more are needed for these projects. However, there are more areas of research that are briefly mentioned in the video beyond self driving cars.
Forbes Article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/06/27/what-will-mechanical-engineers-do-after-most-cars-go-electric/#459db26e6387