November 1, 2002

Detroit automotive electronics conference draws over 8,000 participants

Auburn Hills, Michigan – Convergence 2002, one of the world’s largest automotive electronics conferences, drew 8,363 participants to the three-day event at Detroit’s Cobo Centre in Detroit, October 21 – 23.

Hosted by DaimlerChrysler, Convergence 2002 boasted a record 190 state-of-the-art exhibits. Featuring 13 timely technical sessions and 74 research papers, Convergence 2002 provided the backdrop for industry leaders to participate in a global forum that focused on the theme: Transportation Electronics = Business + Technology + Process, addressing three important aspects of the business side of automotive electronics.

At the conference-ending banquet, attended by more than 1,000 people, Delphi Automotive received the Trevor O. Jones Outstanding Paper Award for “Multimedia Entertainment: Vehicle Technology & Service Business Trends” by authors Robert Schumacher, Richard Lind, Huan Yen and Doug Welk of Delphi, as well as Sachal Gidwani of MobileAria, Inc. Delphi’s team received a monetary award of $10,000, which the winners donated to the Convergence Education Foundation.

As a result of Convergence 2002’s success, approximately $700,000 of the proceeds will be donated to the Convergence Education Foundation, an initiative designed to increase the number of grade school students who choose science or mathematics as a lifelong career. Since its inception in 1994, the CEF has awarded nearly $2 million in grants to elementary, junior high and high schools in Michigan and Ohio.

This conference came 28 years after the first Convergence made its debut in 1974 which drew some 300 participants. At that time, the only standard electronic components on most automobiles, other than entertainment systems, were alternators and voltage regulators.

“This conference was a labour of love for DaimlerChrysler and we are thrilled with both the attendee and exhibitor turnout at Convergence 2002,” said Bernard I. Robertson, senior vice president of DaimlerChrysler and chairman of Convergence 2002. “Despite less than favorable economic conditions, thousands came to hear many key industry executives explain how strong business strategies and profitability are paramount to the future of automotive electronics. This kind of favourable support demonstrates the passion and commitment of the people involved in the automotive and electronics industries.”

Experts agree that automotive electronics will play an important role in the future of automobiles. In fact, recent predictions are that the value of electronic systems could grow from an average of 30 percent of vehicle content today, to as much as 40 percent by 2010.

To support the growing “convergence” between the automotive and electronics industries, Convergence 2002 boasted an impressive list of keynote speakers from both arenas. They included Dick Brass, Vice President of Technology Development, Microsoft Corporation; J.T. Battenberg, Chairman and CEO, Delphi Automotive; Wolfgang Dehen, CEO, Siemens VDO; Wolfgang Ziebart, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, Continental AG; Christopher Galvin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Motorola; Thierry Morin, CEO, Valeo; Alex Lidow, CEO, International Rectifier Corporation; and Dieter Zetsche, President and CEO, DaimlerChrysler.

The next biennial Convergence conference will be held October 16-18, 2004 at Cobo Center and will be hosted by Ford Motor Company.

The Convergence Transportation Electronics Association (CTEA), which founded the conference more than 25 years ago, and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) sponsored Convergence 2002. Proceeds from the conference benefit the Convergence Education Foundation (CEF), a nonprofit organization devoted to developing a passion for mathematics and science in school-aged children.

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