The Chicago Auto Show Goes Interactive

By: Christina E. Rodriguez

Shiny new cars sit on the main concourse of McCormick Place where thousands will gather for the Chicago 2010 Auto Show. From Chrysler to Lexus and even the newer brand of Fisker, there is plenty to see and plenty more to experience.

For those who like technology and 3-D interactive video, there are touch screens at almost every main show platform that allow you to choose what you want to learn about a particular car. For example, the Chevy Cruze’s tells you about the car’s mileage and economic value: about 500 miles to the tank. Other screens are much larger and allow a larger audience to see and hear your selection.

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Other displays show how cars are put together: certain vehicles are cut in half, while others show the exact accordion effect of how a car would fold into itself in any type of accident or car collision. Ford gives viewers a peek at the chassis of their new trucks. And the Scions are “pimped out” to show how you can make a car suitable for travel or fun with everything including the kitchen sink or a living room sized television in the back seat.

autoshow-4726Scion lets you build your own car with 3-D computer animation. With a code printed on a pair of 3-D glasses, you can choose the model of the car, the color, the wheel and the detailed extras on the outer bumpers. When you move to the second screen, you scan the glasses again to view your complete car on a larger screen; size it and spin it by just moving your arms in a certain direction. By typing in your email address, you can save your digital car online to view at home.

Bridgestone displays a new tire called Ecopia that allows for better gas mileage and less heat generation from the tires. Bridgestone also presented a new technique for re-treading tires. The shop can remove the top layer of rubber worn down from about 300,000 miles of service and replace it with a new layer, which would last for another 250,000 miles of service, basically recycling the tire.

autoshow2010-2Fisker Automotive, founded in 2007 in California, has put out a plug-in hybrid car that works mostly on a charged ion battery and little gas. The Karma, fully charged, burns no fuel for the first 50 miles. Once that is exceeded, it works as a normal hybrid, allowing for the fuel to charge the lithium ion battery. The car itself takes about 3-5 hours to charge. The Sunset, also on display at the Auto Show, will be out in 2012. Both cars start at about $89,500.

For the more adventurous type, there was Jeep showing new models with big, hefty tires and a frame that could outlast any type of rollover. Jumping in with a Jeep driver, one can experience the different terrains Jeeps are known for treading over. Anything from bumps, to hills to ramps, this presentation had it covered. Going up a hill at a 35 degree angle and stopping right in the middle, the driver explains just how equipped and easily maneuverable this adventure vehicle is. And while adults have to sit as passengers on the concourse, the kiddies get to drive themselves around in mini-cars set up on their own little race track.

Among all the cool and high-tech autos out on the concourse, Ford Mustangs sit proudly on display, while Chevy showcases their yellow Camaro, also known as Bumblebee to Transformer fans and featuring a Transformer logo on the driver’s side of the car. Older models that have been around for years are on the floor to view and gawk at, while the classic Buick, Lexus and Chrysler vehicles sit with pride and distinction.

The Auto Show has just about something for everyone. For the militarily inclined, the Army displays their funny car and an all-terrain vehicle outfitted in full army garb. They have simulators available for those of you who’ve ever wanted to fly a helicopter or shoot some guns. On the side, they have a remote control car track that two people can race on.

Originally published by Cafe Media, LLC.

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