The 2017 North American International Auto Show got underway in Detroit Sunday and will run through Jan. 22. The show doesn’t open to the public until Saturday, Jan. 14.
Over the course of the next 2 weeks up to 800,000 people could stream into Detroit's Cobo Center to get a glance at new vehicles, fresh automotive technology and some of the ideas and concepts that will drive North America’s passion with cars for the next few years.
Related: HIGHLIGHTS OF CES 2017
Media Gets First Peak
As is customary the show kicks off with a 3-day media only preview. Members of the automotive and mainstream press will see concept vehicles featuring long-range electric powertrains, autonomous driving technology onboard personal assistants.
The term “connected cars has been around for a while. Now industry insiders are predicting that by 2025 almost every car on the road will be connected – to each other or to a smart infrastructure.
Another part of the show not open to the public starts Sunday and runs through Thursday. It’s called AutoMobili-D and consists of 120,000 square feet of space in Cobo Center's Atrium where 45,000 industry pros and executives along with members of the media will get a preview of upcoming changes in the areas of autonomy and connected vehicles.
Companies participating in AutoMobili-D include General Motors Co. (NYSE:GMB), Nissan Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TMC), IBM Corp. (NYSE:IBMC), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGC), Fiat Chrysler and others.
Among promised high-tech innovations expected is a form of nanotechnology designed to bring “windshields into the 21st century.” The area, which also contains a test track, will allow professionals to network and hear from automotive industry leaders and thinkers.
Waymo Meets Chrysler
Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous vehicle technology company and Fiat Chrysler will announce the completion of a fleet of 100 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans constructed to be fully self-driving. Waymo’s contribution will include the self-driving technology via a purpose-built computer, sensors, telematics and other technology solutions.
According to NAIAS officials AutoMobili-D is not the result of pressure from the Consumer Electronics Show, which wrapped up Sunday in Las Vegas or other tech shows around the country and the world, but rather a reflection of the role tech is playing in the automotive industry in general.
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Public ShowAs noted above, the public portion of NAIAS will begin Saturday, Jan. 14 and continue through Jan. 22. Events will include Eyes on Design Awards, Education Day, Auto Show 5K and a host of daily activities.
While many of “insider” events like AutoMobili-D will not be seen by the public, the spectacle that begins Jan. 14 is the general public’s chance to see up-close the vehicles and technology that will shape the immediate future of transportation.