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Celebrating women of Nissan

On this International Women's Day, Nissan salutes women fueling innovation in our corner of the world. A great example of innovation at Nissan can be found in the all-new 2021 Rogue, a vehicle that came to life last year with support of many, including Navya Raghoji and Rachel Hall who #ChoosetoChallenge.

Becoming a car doctor

Born and raised in India, Navya Raghoji dreamed of becoming a doctor. As a child, she could often be spotted with a stethoscope around her neck. In high school, that all changed when Raghoji job shadowed and was introduced to a possible career in vehicle engineering . The experience changed her career trajectory. Today, Raghoji calls herself a "doctor for cars," writing repair standards for Nissan vehicles as an engineer on the New Model Body Engineering team.

Raghoji joined Nissan in 2012 while still a senior in college . She began working in  the Trim and Chassis area focused on the Nissan Maxima, and then she spent 18 months at Nissan's Canton, Mississippi Assembly Plant where she played an integral role for a launch of the Nissan Murano.

"Even though I was young for such a role, I knew I could do it, and I wanted to prove that to myself," said Raghoji.

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That experience was the first step for Raghoji, now 28, becoming a lead engineer supporting the all-new Rogue launch while overseeing a team of five people. Three years before production launch, Raghoji and her team began studying the vehicle's design to create a manufacturing plan and determine the equipment needed to bring the 2021 Rogue to life. The process included space planning for the production lines, assessing machine capability, and deploying robots into the build process.

Raghoji inspires young women to consider careers in automotive manufacturing. Each summer, she directs an engineering camp for high school girls. The camp is held at Nissan's Smyrna plant and is led by volunteer engineers from throughout the company.

"Some of the ideas the students come up with are mind blowing," said Raghoji. "It's encouraging that so many young women also find this field fascinating."


Seeing the potential of virtual reality in manufacturing 
While most employees at Nissan use weekends, holidays and shutdowns to catch up on some rest and relaxation, that’s when Rachel Hall gets busy. As new model equipment engineer, Hall determines what line equipment needs to be updated or replaced when a new model is set to enter production. She then oversees installation and testing for any new parts and equipment deemed necessary.

An Environment and Utility Controls engineer by training, Hall joined Nissan 10 years ago . During her 20 -plus total years in the automotive industry, she's seen big changes in the industry, one that she recently ushered in. Hall helped introduce a game-changing technology that revolutionized plant floor operations at Nissan. Hall recommended using virtual reality (VR) technology during the Rogue launch to visualize how parts would fit together, and to identify issues before moving into the vehicle build phase. Ultimately this led to both cost and time savings.

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"VR provides a tactile experience allowing us to see more," said Hall. "Previously, we reviewed 3D data on a 2D screen. Now, I can virtually walk around in a 3D world and pick up a part to see how it fits on the car."

The Rogue launch marks the first time VR technology was used in this way at Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee manufacturing facility. It could become standard on future product launches.

"These are indeed exciting times for anyone working in automotive manufacturing," said Hall. "The opportunities for women to make their mark here are many. The sky's the only limit."

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