SAE 2016 World Congress and Exhibition

April 12-14, 2016

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Cobo Center

Safety Technology and the Thrill of the Drive

Rally driver Alex Roy accomplished the American dream of driving across the country, but he didn't take the scenic route in a rented RV. Roy currently holds the Cannonball Run record (internal combustion engine)-set in 2007-having driven his BMW M5 nearly 3000 miles from New York City to Los Angeles in 31 h, 4 min.

"I'm a coward 364 days a year," jokes the safety-conscious driver. "And I appreciate what technology can do to keep making cars safer. But I don't believe that technology and law will ever confine those of us who love to drive."

A leading authority on automotive business, culture, and safe-driving car technology, Roy will speak in the Tech Hub on April 14 at SAE's 2016 World Congress & Exhibition at the Cobo Center in Detroit, MI. His talk, "The Cannonball Run vs Wall-E: The Future of Car Culture & The Coming Autonomotive Singularity," will explore how the best man-machine interface in the world today has long hidden in plain sight. Consider the future of car culture and the individual when one of the most popular forms of self-expression-driving-goes extinct. When automated cars become the norm, what current issues will they solve, and what new problems will they create?

After more than a century of evolution in the automotive industry, driving is still core to the American form of expression. Buying that first car defines the American experience. As Roy explains, everything about a person's car, from the color and size to its practicality and design, telegraphs to the world who a person really is.

"No one says 'my car had an accident,' " Roy remarks. "We say 'I had an accident.' Why? When we drive, the car becomes an unconscious extension of the human body. Technology can do a lot to optimize safety, aerodynamics, fuel efficiency, and performance, but it can't solve for the emotionality of human nature."

Roy has tested the limits of driving on America's public roads. His writing reflects on the often complex relationships between cars and their drivers. Author of "The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World," Roy chronicles the history of underground racing and the Cannonball Run. He is: President of Europe By Car, the oldest privately held European car rental wholesaler in the United States; Video Host and Editor-at-Large of Time's new automotive portal The Drive; contributor to Road & Track, Jalopnik, The Truth About Cars, and Petrolicious; and Editor-in-Chief of the LiveDriveRepeat blog.

The Tech Hub, which was introduced at the SAE 2015 World Congress, spotlights innovative thinking and next-generation technology and is designed to challenge attendees to examine the future of the mobility industry. Located in the center of the Innovators-Only Exhibit Floor, the Tech Hub is home to Tech Talks, interviews with industry experts, Q&A sessions, hands-on activities, and networking opportunities with leading engineers in multiple facets of mobility. More information about this year's Tech Hub activities.

Alex Roy

Alex Roy Alex Roy (on the left) also holds Cannonball Run records for Electric Vehicle/Semi-Autonomous Driving, set in a Tesla Model S (57 hours, 48 minutes)
Alex Roy and ICE/AutoCycle, set in a Morgan 3-wheeler (41 hours, 49 minutes).
Alex Roy Alex Roy's Cannonball BMW M5, technologically outfitted to put the pedal to the metal
Alex Roy Alex Roy's Cannonball BMW M5 (interior), technologically outfitted to put the pedal to the metal