Keeping Up With Technology
As many members know, SEMA opened the SEMA Garage a little less than five years ago. The facility and its staff exist to help our manufacturer members with product development. Member utilization of the Garage makes clear that the industry is becoming more tech savvy, with wide use of SEMA’s library of OEM CAD data (Tech Transfer), sophisticated scanning devices and rapid prototyping technologies. That’s a positive outcome, and now we want to encourage more members to turn to the Garage to capture opportunities—and overcome challenges—as the industry addresses increasingly complex vehicle technology.
One immediate opportunity involves advanced safety systems that are becoming common on newer cars. There is evidence that consumer demand for these features—backup cameras, lane-departure warnings, parking-assist devices and other electronics—now extends to retrofits for older vehicles. You’ll find more information on the retrofit opportunities elsewhere in this issue, with more details to come in future issues as well. Meanwhile, to help the industry keep up with changes rolling out on new vehicles, we’ve recently added more resources at the SEMA Garage.
Covering 15,000 sq. ft., the SEMA Garage includes a range of tools for specialty product developers, including two vehicle lifts, a portable coordinate measuring machine for 3D scanning, a 3D printer for fast prototyping, digital race-car scales, a CARB-certified emissions lab and more. It is the only facility of its kind in the United States, and it also offers OEM measuring sessions for new-model cars and trucks and for vehicles SEMA acquires directly. Recent acquisitions include the ’18 Ford F-150, ’18 Jeep Wrangler, and Polaris and Can-Am UTV models—allowing SEMA to continually add new scan data to our library of scan files.
And because technological competence is not just about equipment, the Garage is staffed with qualified experts to better assist members. Our team goes through continuous training—allowing the Garage to assist with the latest vehicle scanning and rapid prototyping equipment and delivering a knowledgeable team running the dyno and emissions lab. Recent expansion of the emissions lab allows us to increase to two shifts, perform diesel testing, and test for particulates for both gas and diesel vehicles.
You’ll also find information on the Garage website (www.semagarage.com) that is helpful for product development, such as the Emerging Trends & Technology Network’s “Design Validation Resource Guide.” The guide is designed to help manufacturers connect with companies capable of testing and validating products or software, and it indexes 79 resource alternatives in the areas of electrical, emissions, engine performance, suspension, wheels, tires and structural testing.
The current and future impact of complex automotive technologies can’t be overstated, as a variety of new systems and requirements will ultimately affect a broad range of aftermarket companies. The recent SEMA Garage upgrades give SEMA-member businesses access to the special high-tech tools, expertise and equipment that they will need to develop safe, clean new products and get them to market.
You can find out more about upcoming measuring sessions and get the latest information about advanced vehicle technologies by visiting www.semagarage.com.