David Cole, Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research:
Meeting the Challenges After the Perfect Storm
At the 2006 CAR Executive Briefing, David Cole described the perfect storm facing the automobile industry — rising costs, increased competition, erosion of pricing power, and reduced time to market. In this keynote, David will discuss how companies are adopting new engineering processes and advanced tools and technologies to increase their productivity and reduce their costs. This change is causing a transformational shift from the physical world to the virtual world. The current generation of engineers develops their designs in the 1's and 0's of modern computer aided design software. An increasing amount of intellectual property stays in the 1'’s and 0's as software algorithms that control everything from modern emissions safety standards to the position of the driver's seat. And just as the automotive industry previously replaced steel and iron prototypes with virtual models, it is now moving electronics and software development to a virtual environment. To address this need, engineers are increasingly relying on software to create the "look and feel" of the vehicle's DNA. All of this is done to provide systems and software to differentiate the customer experience, which now carries the same strategic importance as the interior and exterior design.
Dr. David E. Cole is the Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was formerly Director of the Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation (OSAT) at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. He has worked extensively on internal combustion engines, vehicle design, and overall automotive industry trends. Dr. Cole received his B.S.M.E., M.S.M.E., and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Cole's recent research has focused on strategic issues related to the restructuring of the North American industry and trends in globalization, technology, market factors, and human resource requirements.