Have automobiles become electronics platforms with engines and transmissions thrown in as afterthoughts? One might be forgiven for thinking so. At the 2012 New York International Auto Show, taking place at New York City's Javits Center April 6 through 15, there was less differentiation amongst products outside the sheet metal than beneath it.
Under the hood, power trains are moving forward via the slow but steady mainstreaming of hybrids and electric vehicles. Performance cars are pushing the envelope with faster but more economical engines. And collector cars of yore, in a special show-floor pavilion, proved that Detroit has quite a historical heritage.
Click on the picture below to see our gallery of the latest from the New York Auto Show floor
Honda's Indy Grand Prix car. This chassis first raced in 2006 and won the Toronto Indy in 2009.
For a close-up look at GM's Chevy Volt, go to the Drive for Innovation site and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director, Brian Fuller.
Loved the spectrum of classic looks with the sci-fi look of some of the newer models. I have seen the redesigned, old, but new Charger around and I have to say, I like it better in the 2000s than I ever did in the `70s. As for the out-there looking cars, BMW's i3/i8 electric vehicles are pretty novel looking. Not sure I fully like the look, but I find with these aerodynamic body structures, it takes a bit of getting used to before you can fully appreciate the aesthetics.
Beth, yes, it is a very interesting mix of old and new. Aerodynamics is back. That is good. Do you remember in the 80s when car manufacturers used to advertise their coefficient of drag? Then we got SUVs.
The Morgans are interesting. I believe that the chasis is still wood. Their is a long waiting list to get one.
I think the new Dodge Dart is an Alfa Romeo sedan with a new skin. If that is true it will be a great driving car. I had an Alfa GTV (Gran Turisimo Veloce, or Grand Trouring Fast) when I lived in Europe at the turn of the millenium. It was a great car. This is my most anticipated result from the Chrysler/Fiat tie up. Oh, and the Charger is great too.
I also liked the MV-1 taxi. This looks a bit like the London taxis. They are much easier to get in and out of and really are more practical than the beat up large sedans used in the US.
Alex, you are right in your supposition that cars are becoming electronic platforms. I heard a while ago that the manufacturer's cost was 1/3 powertrain, 1/3 chasis and 1/3 electronics. Compare that to a few years ago.
Naperlous, you are right. Most of the mechanical and manual parts are getting replaced by electronic components and automations. I think in near future other than fuels, almost all functionalities may take place with the help of electronics.
I enjoyed the slideshow. It was nice to see what is coming down the pipeline. But where are the other US automakers. Half of those were old cars and don't get me wrong I love seeing old cars. Too bad no brass era cars in there or a speedsteer with an airplane engine in it. Those are even more neat to see. :) I realize the show name has international in it, but Ford seems to have been present. Hey, have any more pics of Honda's NASCAR engine? Is it tuned port or direct injection? Looks like it's a dual overhead cam engine and a direct inject, but never can see any really up close pics of one of the engines.
hey Alex - did you get to roadtest any of those babies? they are all gorgeous and fun to drive as well - but are they safe? However, one thing is for sure: I am sure there are a lot of "MEMS inside" those machines.... Karen
Driving, no. Sitting in lots of them, yes. Getting into a Smart car and closing the door is an experience. Not exactly a heavy thud. Sensors were definitely on the agenda there, in that they're not visible but if you go to the automaker people, they will talk about them. Anyway, the electronics evolution is well along on the automotive platform.
NASA and Boeing developed a huge, carbon composite cryogenic fuel tank for deep space missions, and started testing it last month. The 18-ft cryotank will enable heavy-lift launch vehicles to send both humans and robots into deep space.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.