In Detroit, progress has arrived with the latest innovations in electronics and automotive This week, two industries collide – automotive with electronics. In Las Vegas, the latest technological innovations in electronics are being revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), including the latest tablets and readers, smart phones, video gaming systems, televisions and computers. While in Detroit the latest innovations and designs in the automotive industry are being revealed at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), including cars with start/stop technology and technology that boosts gas mileage, keeps you connected or helps avoids accidents, such as Ford SYNC.  In fact, while CES is all about electronics, the automotive industry is generating a big presence in Las Vegas.

For example, while the auto show is set to open in Detroit, General Motors (in collaboration with LG) unveiled MyLink, an in-dash system for the Chevy Sonic and Spark, which is designed to use a smartphone's apps to access cloud based content and navigation.  Mercedes-Benz introduced Drive Style, a new iPhone app that will sync with their 2013 models and appear on an in-dash display. And Roximty, an app made exclusively for Ford's Sync provides the driver with real-time discounts that are based on one's geo-location and personal preferences.

Both events are receiving international attention for the amazing innovations they reveal. However, unlike CES, the Auto Show is really Detroit’s turn to show its true colors as to what makes the Motor City great. Most of the designs and technology we see in an automobile are Made in Detroit, unlike the technology and designs that are being revealed in a tablet, smartphone, laptop or television.

Despite being known as the Motor City, Detroit did not become the automotive capital of the world just because all the car companies decided to locate here. It was because of individual entrepreneurs such as Henry Ford, Henry Leland and Ransom Olds each had an idea that led Detroit, to not only house a company, but allowed Detroit to create an industry -- An industry that also has led to innovations in health care, defense, advanced manufacturing, alternative energy and electronics.

What also makes Detroit unique is that not only do we have the talent and minds to drive innovation we have the talent and hands of the skilled laborers who can actually put it together.

The Motor City, Detroit and Detroit Rock City is a place that has led the nation in innovation. However, this city’s strengths are not only from its manufacturing muscle, it really stems from its people. From the time Chief Cadillac first landed on our shore, which became America’s Fresh Water Coast, to creating the stoves that cooked our food, the ships that ran on our seas, to railroad cars and now the automobile, it is the people of this region that drive the innovations we now use everyday.

Detroit is a tough city and Detroiters are even tougher.  You see, Panics and Depressions are nothing new to us. With each economic challenge comes economic opportunity and a chance to reinvent ourselves. In fact, with World War II, it was Detroit that ceased making cars from 1942 to 1945 and converted our car factories into plants creating tanks, jeeps and B-24 bombers, leading our city to become “The Arsenal of Democracy.”

 

While What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas, what goes on in Detroit helps drive not just the nation’s economy but the entire world economy. In his book, The Comeback, Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro (who just happens to live in Detroit) says, "Innovation moves us forward as a nation, pushing us to succeed and strive for a better tomorrow. In short, innovation is the American Dream."  Detroit is not just a place where the American Dream of owning your own home, driving not just one car but two and going to college comes true, it is where that American Dream began.

 

The innovations that are Made in Detroit are not just limited to the car.

 

  • In 1953, the first machine to allow open-heart surgery, was created in Detroit, as a result of collaborative efforts between General Motors (GM), the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Wayne State University.
  • Six years later, Barry Gordy saw many Detroiters “Dancin in the Street,” and founded Motown, which changed not only what music we enjoy but made significant contribution to the arts in general.

 

A few years ago, Audi ran an ad campaign about “progress.”  One of the ads said “Progress – it shapes, it changes. It leaves old ways behind. And brings new ways forward. It comes in many forms. The big and the small. The historical and the personal. The social and the scientific. And while we may never see it coming, we most certainly know when it has arrived.”

Progress moves things forward.  It changes our lives. As you visit the 2012 North American International Auto Show, you will see that progress in Detroit has arrived.

 

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