Virtual Reality Experience at NAIAS Offers Glimpse at Steel’s Role in Future Autonomous Vehicles

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Future Mobility will be front and center at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and the Cobo Center show floor won’t be the only place for attendees to see vehicles of the future. Just off the main exhibit floor on the Cobo concourse, attendees will have a chance to experience first-hand what autonomous vehicles may look and feel like in the near future through the Steel Market Development Institute’s (SMDI) Virtual Reality Experience.

The technology making it possible for autonomous (or self-driving) vehicles to find their way is only part of the story. According to World Auto Steel and the “Future Generation Passenger Compartment-Validation” presentation from Great Designs in Steel Presentation, steel is the material of choice for automotive manufacturers for a number of reasons, especially for self-driving cars and trucks. The fact is, as the popularity of autonomous vehicles grows, performance, value and occupant protection will become even more critical. Steel will play a leading role in all those aspects.

For one, the use of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) gives engineers many options in terms of safety, convenience, occupant comfort and cost savings. You’ll see AHSS provides exceptional strength so the center, or B-pillar, of a vehicle can be removed. This makes it a lot easier for occupants to enter and exit a vehicle.

Once they’re inside, advanced high-strength steel provides such a strong and stable structure, passengers will find their ride quieter and a lot more comfortable because noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) is greatly minimized. Steel will also provide automotive engineers an easy way to design for additional safety! According to World Auto Steel and ArcelorMittal, the technology we mentioned at the start, like sensors and batteries, is also better protected by steel’s strength and, because AHSS is lighter and thinner, there’s more room for additional batteries – which means traveling further on a charge. The lighter weight also leads to improved fuel economy, according to SSAB.

Your Virtual Reality Experience will also show you how steel is beneficial for the environment since it’s the most recycled material in the world and, compared with competitive materials, has the lowest emissions during production, according to the Steel Recycling Institute and World Steel Association.

In all, SMDI’s Virtual Reality Experience will let you see first-hand the self-driving vehicles of the future and why steel will make them stronger, safer, more comfortable and more efficient, while protecting the world where we’ll be driving in them.

Be sure to follow @DriveUsingSteel on Twitter for all the breaking news from the NAIAS show floor. What vehicles are you most excited to see? Tell us in the comments below.

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