The car industry is racing into the connected future – and umlaut consultant darani yogalingam is behind the wheel. A test drive.
Click, clack. open, closed. Click, clack. On, to. In a parking lot in the south of germany, where the autobahn makes a detour around the medieval town of landsberg am lech, a woman is standing in front of a large white suV. She holds a smartphone in her right hand and presses her thumb on the screen. Click. Doors unlocked. Again. Clack. Doors locked. "That’s worked out well before," she says. "then let’s see what else the car can do."
Darani yogalingam is an industrial engineer specializing in vehicle technology and a consultant at umlaut. Among other things, it works for a leading manufacturer in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Her expertise is in process and cost management – when she’s not on the road in germany.
On the road in the porsche taycan
Because once a month is test drive day. At one point she drives a turquoise porsche taycan through germany to check how well the charging infrastructure is working (it is working, but we’d better do some more tests on top). Next month, she’ll be sitting in a luxury SUV, swiping through the vehicle app – connectivity, ease of use and comfort will all be on the test sheet.
the porsche taycan in test
Like today: darani puts the seat back, picks up the laptop and opens an excel spreadsheet. In it: the different categories in which the SUV can score points. Provided that the technology is present and works. App and smartphone, navigation, productivity, comfort, entertainment, extras, communication, voice control – in all eight categories, darani enters values in the table.
First, darani opens the app on the smartphone and checks if status information like charge level, range or tire pressure of the car is listed there. Works. Then it checks that the app correctly displays the car’s location and offers information about the surroundings. Are there gas stations nearby?? Parking? automotive workshops? Works. Finally, it starts navigation with the "send to car" function: darani types an address into the app. The app connects to the car. First the address pops up on the SUV’s display, then the destination guide. Works.
The app helps keep track of charge status, range, or tire pressure.
The evaluation of the test results is sometimes done in the evening and at night. "it’s kind of my hobby at umlaut," says darani, laughing. And if you’re wondering why she does it, there’s one thing you haven’t figured out yet: darani yogalingam loves cars.
Test drive to the job
Her father gave her his old golf III station wagon when she had her driver’s license for just a few days. "it was an adventure," says darani today – and again she has to grin – but on the way to school, a bit of pride has been riding along ever since.
What began as a youthful adventure developed over the following years into a pure fascination with technology. the longer darani drove and the more she understood about cars, the more interested she became in the processes behind them. After studying industrial engineering, she completed the master’s degree in automotive engineering& management" at the university of duisburg-essen.
an internship at daimler during her bachelor’s degree and many "test drives" in friends’ cars grew her fascination for the vehicle industry: "whenever someone bought a car, i wanted to drive it right away," she says. Even though her job has become more and more about project and process management, she still has a passion for cars.
Darani manages a test project in cooperation with "connect" magazine.
Connectivity check for the compact class
That’s also because technology is developing in quantum leaps right now. "in the more expensive vehicles, this is totally visible – here, for example, modern mobile communications technology is already widely used," says darani. Many modern vehicles communicate with the smartphone, some connect automatically to the internet and play music, others find a free parking space on their own. "most cars do very well."today, however, she is driving a compact class car for the first time – "cars that the masses can afford".
darani has a lot of understanding for the demands of frequent drivers. her two-room apartment in aachen’s city center is currently inhabited mainly by a few plants. "there used to be more of them," she says, laughing: the species that survived were those that got by with little water. She travels a lot for the consultant job. Mostly four days a week – from Monday to Thursday. She usually travels up to 500 kilometers by train, for the sake of the environment and also because it’s easier to work by train. "but i like to take the car whenever i can," she admits.
The test drives come in very handy: "I had already said in the job interview at umlaut that I would like to do something in the field of digital automotive," she says. Shortly after, the company asked if she wanted to support the tests. Darani wanted. Five months later, in october 2019, she took over the project management for the testing in the cooperation project with the magazine "connect", in addition to her advisory work with the customer. preparation, coordination, evaluation – a pretty big package. "of course i also give up some private time for this, but i like doing it," says darani. "this is simply my heart’s project."
Dance moves and excel spreadsheets
Then she starts the engine and rolls out of the parking lot, slowly and deliberately. Maybe for the journalist who is watching her – because, as darani explains, she sometimes sings loudly in the car or does a few dance moves. "but only when i’m traveling privately".
A glance to the right and left, then she turns onto the road. During the trip, it makes a few test calls about the car, roadside assistance, emergency call center. "they already know our calls," she says. "we always warn you." in the evening darani arrives at the last parking lot for today, the car has guided her to the right destination. Darani takes the laptop from the passenger seat and types the rating into the table. She is satisfied. "the car performed surprisingly well, better than expected," she says. Then she closes the laptop – and gets ready for the best part of the day: the return trip.