Machine Design Ride and Drive Award Winners Announced
The event consisted of sixteen vehicles that followed standard driving and parking procedures that allowed the drivers to evaluate the quality, comfort and "driver friendliness" of the emerging technologies. The two key areas measured were comfort and safety. In the category of Safety and Security, top honors went to the Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan. In the Highest IQ category, the Acura RL came out on top. The winner in the Best Value category was the Mazda CX-7. Finally, a Judge's Choice award went to the Audi A8 W12 Quattro AT6.
Dean McConnell, Director of Occupant Safety and Driver Assistance Systems for Continental Automotive Systems North America, addressed those attending the announcement and stated, "The establishment of this award by Machine Design is yet another sign of the growing importance of intelligent vehicle technologies in taking automotive safety, comfort and performance to new levels. Smarter, safer, more efficient vehicles are here and more are yet to come. For example, safety technologies are constantly evolving and the safety products on vehicles driven during the Ride and Drive will create a fleet of 'smarter cars' that can greatly reduce crashes and help prevent injuries on highways around the globe." McConnell added, "Several independent reports have indicated that Intelligent Vehicle Safety such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) can drastically reduce crash rates and help save lives. ESC was a breakthrough in terms of what Intelligent Vehicle Safety can do for reducing crashes and injuries. The vehicles and the intelligent technologies recognized by Machine Design are helping to usher in a new era in vehicle safety and performance."
"The Ride and Drive event allowed some of our readers to experience the technology affecting safety and comfort in many of today's leading vehicles," Machine Design Editor, Lee Teschler said. "While all the vehicles driven had similar standard safety items, those that stood out had desirable features that in the minds of the drivers made for a 'Smart Car.'" Teschler added, "The most impressive technology was found in vehicles that could anticipate what was happening before the driver did and influence the vehicle's performance and avoid a possible crash. It was truly amazing what a vehicle was capable of doing on behalf of the driver."
As a worldwide leading technology partner to the automotive industry, the Automotive Systems Division of Continental AG integrates extensive know-how and uncompromising quality in the fields of driving safety, powertrain and comfort. In 2005 the Division achieved sales of approx. EUR 5.2 billion with a workforce of more than 24,000. Continental Automotive Systems develops and produces electronic and hydraulic brake, stability and chassis control systems, electronic air suspension systems, sensors, engine management and transmission control systems, hybrid drives, cooling fan modules as well as body and security electronics.
In 2006 Continental Automotive Systems celebrates altogether 100 years of successful automotive technologies. The slogan "Forward Thinking" points to the future and the mission to keep pushing for new dimensions in safe mobility and the joy of driving cars.
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