DCEA 36th Automotive Technology Conference and 2017 Annual Meeting Held Successfully

The Detroit Chinese Engineers Association (DCEA) held its 36th Automotive Technology Conference and 2017 Annual Meeting on Sunday, April 2, 2017, at Detroit Marriott Troy.

The DCEA is the oldest Chinese professional organization in greater Detroit, with its members and advisors spanning over the both sides of the Pacific Ocean. The purpose of the annual Conference was to bring DCEA members together to network, to get update with new advances in emerging and cutting-edge technologies, and to share knowledge and expertise from leading researchers, practitioners and visionaries. The theme of this year’s conference is “Smart Mobility and Energy Efficient Technologies”. It featured a panel of distinguished speakers and guests from US, China and Japan. Dr. Frank Fane and Mr. Dafa Yan chaired the conference. Dr. Zifeng Nie, DCEA President, gave welcome remarks.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Frank Zhao, a professor and the Director of Tsinghua Automotive Strategy Research Institute (TASRI), Tsinghua University, China, and the President Elect of FISITA (The International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies). Titled “China's Automotive Industry  Opportunities and Challenges”, Dr. Zhao’s exciting report  described the evolution of China’s automotive industry, introduced the Chinese government’s latest plan for the automotive industry and relevant regulations and standards systems, analyzed how China’s changing demographics and urbanization are shaping the automotive market, and elucidated the progress and trends of Chinese homegrown automotive brands. The presentation was informative and entertaining.

Mr. Ming Kuang is a Technical Leader in Vehicle Controls at Research and Innovation Center of Ford Motor Company, leading the development of global vehicle control architecture and advanced electrified vehicle controls. In his presentation of “Connected and Intelligent Electrification – An Outlook”, Ming reviewed the key enablers for maximum utilization of Electrification for vehicle energy efficiency, performance and driving experience. It recounted the evolution of vehicle connectivity, discussed current technologies in this area. He ended with exploring the potentials of Electrification offered by vehicle connectivity and intelligent controls to create connected and intelligent vehicles that customers want and value today and tomorrow.

A Chief Engineer of Automotive Insight Inc, an automotive professional services company, and a former Chief Engineer at Ford Motor Company, Mr. Thomas Musselman spoke on “Understanding the NVH Process in Vehicle Electrification - From a Vehicle Program Manager's Perspective”. He analyzed characteristics of Noise, Vibration and Harness in Vehicle Electrification and offered his perspective on design requirements for safe and durable electric vehicles.

Passionate for innovative and sustainable propulsion systems, Mr. Gernot Hacker is the Affiliate Business Manager for Electrification at AVL Test Systems Inc.. He discussed “Managing the Diversity of Modern Propulsion Systems from Development & Validation Perspective”. Mr. Hacker  explained how the evolution of conventional powertrains to electrified propulsion systems is resulting in a diversity of solutions in the industry. Managing this complexity has an impact on development organizations and their methodology. His presentation focused on an integrated approach of development process and validation tools to bridge the gap between real world driving to powertrain-, subsystem- and component tests.

Then the Conference shifted the gear to go beyond the automotive industry and to look at the Sino-US trade relation under the new US Administration. The speaker, Dr. Jianmin Jin, is a Senior Fellow of Fujitsu Research Institute (FRI) in Japan, and a special commentator on finance and economics for China’s CCTV2. He has a unique vantage in analyzing “Impact of Trump's Trade Policies on Sino-US Economic Relations”, because he positions himself outside China and US.

From his data and research, Dr.Jin explained that China is not likely to be labeled a “Currency Manipulator”, but that rhetoric of Unfair Trade controversy might intensify, because of continued trade imbalance between the two largest economies. He shared a range of remedies that would alleviate the trade imbalance.

At the end of the Conference, a Q&A Panel session with the audience was joined by all the speakers, plus Dr. Shen Feng, an invited guest, who is a Vice President of Volvo Cars Group Asia-Pacific and Global CTO of Polestar. The session was moderated by Mr. John McElroy, a well-known commentator in the automotive industry and the host of “Autoline” programs on TV and radio. A broad variety of questions were asked and answered in a relaxed and animated atmosphere.

While the participants enjoyed delicious meals, the Annual Meeting got underway.  A vice president of Research and Advanced Engineering at the Ford Motor Company, Dr. Ken Washington made a keynote speech on the topic of “Technology Trends – Electrification and Autonomy”.He leads Ford’s worldwide research organization, overseeing the development and implementation of the company’s technology strategy and plans. Dr. Washington reflected on how Henry Ford’s invention of the moving assembly line put the world on wheels and changed the way people moved, and shared Ford’s continued drive to pursue innovations in all the areas of its business and breakthroughs in technology and engineering. He offered his insight into various new developments in battery technology, renewable energy, computing, sensors, and connectivity, and looked into future of electrification and the autonomous vehicle development program at Ford Motor Company.

The Annual Meeting was proceeding to complete its agenda. Dr. Zifeng Nie, DCEA President presented his annual report, recounting the 36-year journey since its founding, highlighting its achievements and an increasingly greater role it is playing in the Chinese American community and the career development of its membership, and outlining the objectives and visions going forward.

The distinguished guests were introduced and invited to the stage one after another to deliver their congratulatory remarks and share their thoughts on DCEA and its activities. The Board of Directors of DCEA recognized various participants, organizations and sponsors that have been supportive of DCEA. The Board presented plaques to retired board members in appreciation of their service and contributions to the Association over the years. Finally, the Board awarded certificates and checks to select high school graduating seniors in recognition of their academic excellence and community services.

The Board of DCEA gratefully acknowledges our sponsors for their support and donation for the Automotive Technology Conference and the Annual Meeting, and collaborative relationships over the years:

  • Ford Motor Company
  • Fives Cinetic Corporation
  • VGAGE, LLC
  • Miller-Canfield Law Firm
  • USJ Transmission Co., Ltd
  • Dickinson Wright Law Firm
  • Moldex 3D Inc.
  • Autoline/ Blue Sky Productions, Inc
  • Automotive Insight, LLC
  • Chinese Association of Greater Detroit (CAGD)
  • Ford Chinese Association (FCA)
  • GM Chinese Employee Resource Group (GM-CERG)

Without their sponsorships, we would not be successful.

About 200 people participated in the Conference and Annual meeting. They appreciated the opportunity for them to reconnect with their old friends and make new ones, in addition to update and dissemination of knowledge and expertise. It concluded successfully, thanks to the effort and enthusiasm of the organizing committee and all of those present.

Reported and Written by Frank Fane, Ph.D.