Innovation was the main theme at the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, as automakers from around the world displayed new technologies aimed at enhancing the fuel efficiency and luxury of vehicles.
Highlights from the show included Volkswagen's introduction of a diesel-based hybrid concept, Tesla's 17-inch front console display, and a multitude of engine technologies focused on fuel efficiency. GM's Cadillac Division grabbed headlines by rolling out the ELR, an upscale cousin of the fuel-efficient Chevy Volt. (We discussed the ELR on Wednesday.)
Here, we've collected photos from Design News' recent visit to the show. From hybrid powertrains and LEDs to entertainment systems and engines, these are some of the most promising innovations we saw.
Click the image below to start the slideshow.
Tesla showed off the Model X, which is said to blend the qualities of a sport utility vehicle and a minivan in an all-electric car that's targeted to hit the streets in 2014. The car's "falcon wing" doors use a hinge between the glass roof panel and the side, allowing them to open up but not out. (Source: Tesla Motors)
Cabe, a few years ago, Consumer Reports had a media day where they displayed electric cars, hybrids and other alternative power sources for autos. The biggest crowd of reporters -- by far -- was around a guy who had converted a single DeLorean from a gasoline- to a battery-powered drivetrain.
Awesome coverage. If I had the money I would buy a De Lorean. The body made out stainless steel (“Stains less”) would make for a better lifetime usage. Plus it is a classic, timeless body shape in my opinion. Anyone with one is sure to be a hit everywhere they go.
I don't know who keeps the concept cars. I just know it isn't me. A few years ago (okay, maybe more than a few years ago), I had the opportunity to drive a concept vehicle at a Pontiac longlead event, and I hit a speed bump a little too fast. I thought the engineer was going to throttle me. It might be my imagination, but I don't think they want to me to get close to the concept cars anymore.
The automakers do have some good technical innovations, tmash. Unfortunately, the Auto Show isn't a great place to do a deep technical dive. There were some pretty good innovations in engines, and we'll be covering those over the next couple of weeks for the engineers like yourself who are looking for a little more meat.
Have to agree. Concept vehicles used to be visionary (like the BMW "Gina"). Now they are pre-production advertisements for the marketing guys to gauge responses. If something is deemed 'ugly' or 'weird' then the vision is scrapped and the dull lines of the contemporary are used.
Where are the rocket cars, fusion powered autos, and the transforming vehicles? When gull wing doors on an SUV wow people, then we have not really seen anything new!
Actually, Al, I do have a technology that I thought was most interesting. This year, it's the engines. In the Silverado slide, you might note that I mentioned three new engines from GM (one of which is also in the Corvette). I think we'll be seeing a face-off between Ford and GM in this arena: Ford with its turbocharged EcoBoost engines and GM with its small block engines. The fuel efficiency numbers aren't in yet, but I find it interesting that the big automakers are investing in engine technology as we begin to glimpse the 54.5-mpg mandate on the horizon.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.