On the centennial of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ first “Annual Meeting” in 1917, the organization is evolving the mobility sector’s all-encompassing collaborative gathering—long known as World Congress—into the SAE World Congress Experience (WCX) for 2017.
The inaugural WCX17, April 4-6 in Detroit, MI, continues the spirit and intent of the original Annual Meeting by retaining an exhaustive list of technical sessions and newly published technical papers as the event’s foundation— in 2016, there were more than 1500 technical presentations and an equal number of published technical papers. But WCX17 incorporates an even wider variety of thought-exchange forums and events, professional-development and networking opportunities and even business-relationship incubators.
“SAE International is excited to unveil this completely redesigned event,” says Jim Forlenza, Group Director, Event Sales, SAE International. “WCX will emphasize active learning and increased collaboration through the dynamic new elements our team has worked tirelessly to develop; beyond that, we’re incredibly proud about the unsurpassed education sessions, top-notch speakers and myriad opportunities to connect.”
WCX17 evolves to blend new experiences with established favorites
Addressing the mobility community’s request for more-focused—and sometimes less formal—opportunities to explore emerging-technology development, WCX 17 offers several unique new venues as well as recognized attendee “winners:”
- The Launch Pad is a new, dedicated presentation area where startup companies can showcase products and services to potential investors.
- The Innovation Market highlights emerging technologies and concepts and new-to-market products and developments.
- The Learning Lab is where OEMs and top-tier suppliers will deliver technical presentations, host Q&A sessions and even perform product launches.
- In the Experience Lounge, exhibitors and buyers can meet to network and exchange ideas in a comfortable, low-pressure “neutral” environment.
- Technology Pavilions address future mobility innovations in specific areas such as additive manufacturing, augmented reality and lightweighting.
- In the crowd-favorite Tech Hub, no holds are barred as groundbreaking and sometimes unconventional thinkers cover an extensive bandwidth of mobility ideas, concepts and developments.
- Meanwhile, the WCX17 Leadership Summit gathers engineering and business leaders from OEMs, large suppliers and government and regulatory interests to further the mobility conversation from both traditional and non-traditional perspectives.
Stimulating panels and sessions
Aside from technical sessions and paper presentations, the public forums and conferences conducted at WCX attract the event’s largest crowds and engaging discussions. As visitors have come to expect, WCX17 presents a spectrum of thought from top-level sources in all areas of the mobility universe.
In the Tech Hub, for example, speakers range from Baidu’s Jun Liu (“A Race to Automated Driving) to speakers representing electric-vehicle startups Nikola Motors (Trevor Milton) and Faraday Future (Peter Savagian). On Day 2, the Tech Hub features speakers such as BMW Group’s Roberto Rossetti (“BMW—The Next 100 Years”) and Prasanna Balaprakash from Argonne National Laboratory to assess the current state of artificial-intelligence development.
The Tech Hub wraps up on Day 3 of WCX17 with Ford’s Moray Callum (“Design in the Age of Automated Vehicles”) and NASA’s Catharine Fay (“The Art of the Possible: Boron Nitride Nanotubes”).
Over at WCX17’s Leadership Summit, Day 1 attendees will hear from a roundtable of sources that include Magna International, Ford and Deere & Co., all discussing “Establishing a Culture of Innovation.” Also on Day 1 is a panel discussing the Internet of Things (IoT) that includes executives from Cisco, Intel Corp. and IBM Corp.
Day 2 of the Leadership Summit sees a panel discussion of “Vehicles as a Shared Economy and the Effects of Automated Technology” and a roundtable talk titled, “Technology Jungle and Consumer Acceptance.”
On Day 3, the Leadership Summit kicks off with a panel talk: “How, What and if You Will Drive in the Next Decade,” that includes speakers from Ford, FCA US, General Motors and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and the Summit finishes with a panel providing executive conclusions that includes Doug Patton of Denso, who also serves as 2017 SAE International President.
WCX17 connected activities
There are numerous notable connected events that happen prior to or in conjunction with WCX17. On April 2-3, SAE’s High-Efficiency IC Engine Symposium is the long-established lead-in to “WCX week.” And there is a variety of activities and events for students and young engineers that include SAE’s Young Professional Program to provide several avenues of professional development and mentoring.
In 2016, the SAE World Congress attracted more than 11500 attendees drawn from 55 countries. The conference had 39 official sponsors and more than 200 exhibiting companies.