Cobo Hall, surrounded by orange
At 9:00 on the 12th, Bob Lutz gave a talk titled "The Lost Art of Fun". I was there, but I didn't take notes. There is a good Detroit News article here. (Unfortunately, my photo didn't come out, there was enough light for my digital point-and-shoot camera to focus.)
The thrust of Bob Lutz' talk was that automotive engineering should be fun, and that he products we build should be fun as well. Paraphrasing:
"Coming to work should be fun. As fun as dropping a crate motor into your project car in your garage".Lutz also criticized the American development of engineers, saying that in Europe engineers always start as draftsmen. I don't disagree, although there is not much point in training a software engineer to draft engine blocks.
"U.S. auto engineers are at a distinct disadvantage from Asian engineers because of the way they're trained," Lutz said at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress at Cobo Center. "We are actually training our engineers to be managers, while the rest of the world trains them to be doers. We are deliberately avoiding hands-on engineers and ... we need to change that."When asked, during the Q&A, if Lutz thought that NHTSA's desire to enforce speed limits was not the best use of its time, Lutz delicately pointed out that he has to be careful not to get in trouble with his answer (we know what he wanted to say).
Lutz also said that GM was committed to building affordable fun-to-drive vehicles, and pointed out the Cobalt SS, Saturn Sky (he accidentally said "vue", I think), and Pontiac Solstice as examples.
AVL had an amazing driving simulator set up, using an FCS Hexatech hydraulic platform. I signed up for a time slot early, and got a chance to do a lap. Think of a 3-screen version of Grand Tourismo, with force feedback and three dimensional acceleration. Wow.
Up-armored HMMV at the Tardec display. This had ~3" thick laminated glass windows, and ~1" thick armor plating all around.
Interior of the Cadillac STS SAE 100, with the mapping IP display.
Ford Shelby GR1 Concept, at the Ford pavillion
Dodge Charger RT Concept, at the Chrysler pavillion