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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
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