When U.S. government guidelines in the early 1970s mandated improved vehicle safety, fuel economy and emission performance, Detroit automakers turned to electronics to help meet these stricter federal regulations. As mechanical and electronics engineers began collaborating, disciplines and cultures collided. The accelerated speed of change that typified the computer-based electronics industry starkly contrasted with the longer product cycles of the auto industry. With very little common ground between them, a chasm quickly developed.
To begin building a shared framework from which to work, Trevor Jones and a handful of automotive engineers founded Convergence. Jones, now chairman and CEO of BIOMEC, Inc., and his team launched the first Convergence conference in 1974 in Troy, MI. Some 300 participants attended that original conference.
Designed as a forum for the two dissimilar groups, Convergence 1974 began a dialogue focused on the challenges facing the automotive industry and how electronics could provide solutions. Since then, Convergence has proved successful in creating shared opportunities between mechanical and electronic engineers, presenting views, discussing needs and capabilities, addressing communication issues and predicting future technology developments and market trends.
In 2004, Convergence marked 30 years of successful collaboration and a tradition of thoughtfully solving a variety of automotive electronic puzzles: from electric and hybrid vehicles to radar brakes and reliability, from electromagnetic interference and powertrain controls to intelligent vehicle highway systems and electronics in heavy-duty trucks, farm machinery, buses and off-highway vehicles.
In 2008, SAE International acquired Convergence from the Convergence Transportation Electronics Association, in an effort to continue to expand its overall portfolio of programs, products and services in the area of mobility electronics, To read the press release, click here.