The first Convergence was held 30 years ago in Troy, Mich., a suburb of Detroit. Today, the biennial event is held in downtown Detroit with about 7,500 people attending. Convergence - you've come a long way, baby.
Back in the1970s, it wasn't easy to figure out what the event was all about. But today, you have only to look at how the merging of electronic and mechanical technologies has changed engine management systems. If we did not have computers, we would not be able to meet emission standards without rough-running engines and lousy fuel economy.
By bringing electronic and mechanical technologies together, we have been able to develop great-running gasoline engines that have tremendous power, low emissions and high fuel economy.
Now things are starting to get into high gear. All sorts of mechanical bits and pieces are being harnessed with electronics and computing.
Cars and trucks are getting more complicated. But with electronic and mechanical technologies working together, we'll have smoother operating, more efficient vehicles.
This merging of mechanical and electronic technologies is most beneficial when the driver is unaware of it. An engine management system is a perfect example; or an HVAC system that enables the driver to set the temperature control and never have to touch it again for months, regardless of the weather.
This year's Convergence - the 15th - was the largest and most productive. With Trevor Jones driving things, it is sure to continue on its exciting path. There is a real need for this organization, and the leadership has been remarkable during the past 30 years.
The challenge for the future is not only to figure out how to make such things as throttle-, steer- and brake-by-wire a reality but also to integrate the systems and make them reliable. The biggest service problem today is with automotive electronics. It has to be solved.
The next Convergence is in two years. It will be fascinating to see what develops during the next 24 months.