News / USA

Auto Show Dazzles With Technology

The Washignton Auto Show floor (Philip Alexiou - VOA)
The Washignton Auto Show floor (Philip Alexiou - VOA)
Phil Alexiou
— There is something undeniable about being on the floor of a massive convention center, surrounded by brand new automobiles from makers around the world. Everything invites you to look, to touch...and hopefully, to buy. 
 
At the Washington Auto Show dozens of manufacturers display their cars and trucks under bright spot lights to make them glisten and glow, with beautiful women next to the new models on rotating platforms and well dressed sales reps who can't smile enough.

From Acura to Volvo and everything in between, there are hundreds of shiny new models on display offering an array of economy and luxury, sedans, trucks and more.
 
Today's automakers know they need to bring economy and quality to their products more than ever. Governments are forcing automakers to meet strict mileage standards, and customers are also asking for better fuel economy. Combine these two forces and you get more streamlined vehicles to the point you might not be able to tell the difference among a Hyundai Sonata, a Honda Accord or a BMW Sedan...assuming you squint.
 
Darrell Nichols runs an auto detail shop and comes to the show every year. "There's only so much that designers can do with today's design," he says. "Once you design a car that is sleek and smooth, how many different takes can you make on the sleek and smooth."
 
Darrell and his wife noticed how much technology is playing a role in the auto designs.  He says, "each year the displays in the hybrid  tech vehicles is getting larger and larger."

Chevy has its Volt, Ford's hybrid Fusion has seven models to choose from, and the all-electric Nissan Leaf can go 15 percent further on a single charge. With the growing demand for fuel economy, many of the automakers now feature their hybrid designs.   

Technology is everywhere on display. Automobile manufacturers are offering more of what is called "driver assist systems" including vision aids, warning and alert systems and more sophisticated active controls.

  • An attendee of the Washington Auto Show checks out a new Mazda
  • A new Hyundai under the lights at Washington's Auto Show
  • A new Buick on display at the Washington Auto Show
  • Driver assistance is everywhere at the Washington Auto Show
  • The Washignton Auto Show floor (Philip Alexiou - VOA)
  • A Ford hybrid sports its latest accolades
  • This Astin Martin is ready for sale, if you can meet its price
  • The new Chevy Spark packs power into a small body
  • The new Camero convertable invites viewers to take a seat
  • The sleek dash of a new Cadillac incorporating new technologies

For example, back up cameras are becoming more common in cars, with some models even offering night vision infrared cameras. Blind spot systems are in demand.  Advanced cruise control technology can automatically slow down your car if it's approching too closely to the car in front.  
 
There is a long list of these technologies that are extras in some vehicles, but over time may become standard.  As Christine Nichols points out, "if you wanted air conditioning you paid extra for it in the past, if you wanted a radio it was extra."   Today, you can add to that list power windows, air bags, disc brakes, sound systems, cruise control and more, standard features in almost any car today. 

From Hyundais to Hondas to Mazdas to Fords they all offer similar features.  
 
Others we spoke with said buyers today are looking for, even expect to see features they had in full size cars to be in smaller vehicles. They want the creature comforts while getting fuel efficiency. That can sometimes become a challenge, at least when it comes to anyone sitting in the back.

Dan Rese and his wife Maria live in Maryland and plan to buy an SUV within six months. "More and more, only the front seat offers the comfort," says Dan. "Today's automakers seem so worried about the price that they are cutting corners in leg room for passengers."
 
The most obvious aspect of the auto show is how fast sophisticated technology is being incorporated into vehicles. But the challenge to be more economical without compensating the power people demand is also blurring the designs of automobiles. 

GMC designs and Cadillac might be some of the obvious exceptions. GMC vehicles, at least their trucks and SUVs are more boxy in style, while Cadillac with its sharper and edgy designs distinguish its product.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid