Technology Speeds Ahead at 55th Auto Show

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Technology was front and center at the 2018 Northwood University International Auto Show (NUIAS). The students who planned and ran the Auto Show found many exciting ways to bring to campus the technological innovations that are accelerating the auto industry and shaping its future.

“Accelerate,” the theme of the 2018 NUIAS, revved the twin engines of progress in today’s automotive industry: speeding ahead of competition plus integrating cutting-edge technology in all aspects of automotive performance.

“One of the challenges we face in carrying on the show’s 55-year legacy is keeping it fresh and relevant each year. For 2018, we expanded the show by adding more teams and vehicles, and we received even more support from manufacturers,” said Ali Nasrallah, general chair of the NUIAS executive board. “Technology and innovation – such as virtual reality, mobility, autonomous cars, and vehicle-to-vehicle communication – are propelling the industry faster than ever. So we featured these advancements throughout the show in obvious and subtle ways.”

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NU Tech, a new addition to the show, demonstrated how computer applications have become integral to connecting dealerships with their customers. The technology of NU Tech helped visitors learn about vehicles in a new way. Team members accessed information instantly and were able to send it to any phone or email address using a program donated by MAXDigital, a software and mobile applications developer for the automotive industry. Other examples of technology featured at the show included Tesla, Inc., a first time participant; several interactive programs that engaged guests; and a distracted driver computer simulation. NU Tech’s success validates the NUIAS executive board’s five-year plan to implement it fully into future auto shows.

Another success of NUIAS, the largest outdoor auto show in North America, was the growth of the Aftermarket division. This year it expanded to include 31 exhibitors from a wider variety of specialties. Visitors saw more vehicles of all types, including a Polaris Slingshot® three-wheel motorcycle, in the exhibits. Seeing the numerous possibilities to upgrade and personalize vehicles, fueled a renewed interest in this section of the show.

“Accelerate” also reflected the way experiential learning helps advance students’ educations and future careers. More than 500 students from all curriculums participated in a variety of ways, including planning and logistics, marketing and advertising, booth design and visitor interaction, and hospitality and fashion.

“Working on the Auto Show is demanding and a lot of fun, but also extremely valuable. What’s amazing is the way employers view show participation,” said Nasrallah. “They are not just looking at experience. They also look for progression of skills and ability to collaborate. The Auto Show is an opportunity to gain all of that and more.”