DETROIT -- Automotive innovation starts with original ideas from insightful engineers. But it's usually patient teamwork that turns the ideas into reality, many winners of 2011 Automotive News PACE Awards said last week.
"The hardest thing about new technology isn't thinking of it in the first place -- it's implementing it," said Jerry Brown, chief engineer for global seat and restraint engineering at Ford Motor Co.
He accepted an Innovation Partnership Award for Ford's work with Key Safety Systems to bring the Inflatabelt, an inflatable seat belt, to market on the 2011 Ford Explorer.
Ford and Key shared some patents on Inflatabelt, Brown added. Martin Ryder, vice president for global sales and marketing at Key, said of the partnership with Ford: "We had one team, one plan, one goal."
Twelve PACE Award winners for innovative products or processes were announced onstage, Academy Award-style, at a black-tie event at the elegant Max M. Fisher Music Center in downtown Detroit.
The 12 winners were chosen from 35 finalists by a panel of independent judges.
"PACE" stands for Premier Automotive Suppliers' Contributions to Excellence. The awards are sponsored by Automotive News, Ernst & Young and the Transportation Research Center Inc.