DETROIT — The industry's future transportation dreams are already rippling through the supply chain.
Autonomous driving, improved data communications, and electrified and lighter vehicles were clearly the driving factors in the Automotive News PACE Awards last week.
The awards, now in their 24th year, recognized Bosch, Visteon and a dozen other suppliers for moving the industry forward — with key new technologies showing up in the hot new fields.
Awards went to France's Valeo for a high-resolution laser scanner that detects road obstacles for the Audi A8, and to Magna Electronics for an artificial intelligence-based angle-detection technology that lets Ford F-150 drivers back up a trailer without jackknifing.
Suppliers including A123 Systems, Borg- Warner, Continental, IEE and Toyoda Gosei picked up 15 PACE Awards here, including two claimed by branches of Valeo. Innovations in advanced safety, vehicle communications and lighter-weight parts and materials to support the drive to electrification snagged almost every 2018 award.
The PACE Awards are given for technology advances that have reached the commercial market. Winners are determined by a panel of independent judges from around the auto industry.
J Ferron, PACE director of judging, said that bringing a technical advancement to market requires that companies view innovation as more than a tactic.
"For these PACE honorees, innovation is a strategic intent and part of their DNA," he said. "These winners surmounted major scientific and engineering barriers to commercialize innovations for vehicle users, and by that speed to market, they have changed the basis of their competition."
In addition to this year's 15 PACE Awards, selected after a review of 33 finalists, two 2018 Innovation Partnership Awards went to Audi AG and General Motors for technology advances achieved by working with suppliers.
Audi was awarded for its partnership with Continental on a safety domain control unit that combines passive and active safety management in a single controller.
GM was awarded for its partnership with TK Holdings Inc. that developed a driver-state system for the Cadillac CT6 that determines whether a driver is drowsy or distracted.