Shorter, smaller SAE congress will focus on innovation

Automotive News reports on the technical focus of the next SAE World Congress.

Auto Tech

DETROIT--The 2010 SAE World Congress will be smaller this year, by design.

"The focus will be very much on innovation, new technology, new developments," Paul Mascarenas, general chairman of the event, said during a phone interview. Gone are the companies "that just come in and make a sales pitch," he said.

The SAE World Congress will be held April 13-15 at the Cobo Center here. The congress will have about 110 exhibitors, down from 356 last year.

The theme is what SAE, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers, calls Ecollaboration.

"The 'E' or the 'Eco'--depending on how you want to look at it--is about the economy; it is about the environment; it is about engineering. And then 'collaboration' is about us working together," said Mascarenas, who also is vice president of engineering and global product development at Ford Motor Co. "I am hoping people engage with each other, participate actively in all of the sessions, exchange thoughts and ideas."

A major change for the event is that only companies and organizations that can demonstrate innovations will have floor space. A panel of automaker executives and industry analysts reviewed requests for exhibit space and made the selections.

Mascarenas said he has two goals for this year's congress: (1) "Encourage everybody to use this as an opportunity to showcase what we are doing as an industry around their technologies," and (2) "Help us rebuild the image of the industry as we recover from the economic downturn."

Other changes include reducing the event from four days to three. Additionally, exhibitors will be positioned on the floor according to themes. Last year, "you had to walk to all four corners of the hall to see the different companies that were showing seating-type technologies," Mascarenas said. "It will be a lot easier to see what is there and pick the areas of particular interest."

There will be a ride-and-drive event April 14 and 15, when all attendees will be able to drive vehicles from Ford, General Motors Co., and several other automakers. Mascarenas said this will be "a perfect opportunity for us to showcase new vehicles, new technologies."

Last year's format, featuring two theaters for panel discussions, will return. Themes to be discussed include vehicle electrification, reduction of mass, aerodynamics, and managing electrical loads.

Other panel themes are intelligent highways, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.

The SAE World Congress will remain a venue for engineers to present technical papers. More than 1,000 white papers are expected to be published and presented.

(Source: Automotive News)

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