The future of the automotive industry factory floor comes into focus at the inaugural “Innovation Zone” at this year’s Southern Automotive Conference (SAC), to be held in Birmingham October 4-6.

BIRMINGHAM, AL (July 10, 2017) - The future of the automotive industry factory floor comes into focus at the inaugural "Innovation Zone" at this year's Southern Automotive Conference (SAC), to be held in Birmingham October 4-6. The SAC has become one of the most important conferences in the North American automotive manufacturing industry, attracting more than 1,000 attendees, including the South's leading automakers, their suppliers and exhibitors from around the globe.

This year's conference theme of "Driving Progress" is a commitment by the SAC to explore the future of the fast-changing auto industry and what it means to manufacturers, their suppliers and their human resources. The Innovation Zone (IZ) is an exhibit area dedicated to the exploration of current and future technologies shaping the manufacturing world. This experiential exhibit features early-stage as well as commercialized technologies that are the new potential disruptors in the automotive industry. It will include hi-tech developments in vehicle intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, 3-D printing, GPS tracking, sensor technology, and many others.

"We believe the Innovation Zone is a key component of the Southern Automotive Conference this year," said Ron Davis, president of the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the host organization for the 2017 SAC. "The Southern automotive sector has become the fastest growing in the United States - with billions of dollars in plant investment from automakers and their suppliers. It's critical that our attendees understand where the future of the industry is going in terms of innovation and technology, because that's where their businesses have to go. We invite any and all innovative automotive tech vendors and suppliers to be a part of the Innovation Zone experience."

"The automotive industry is marching toward ‘Industry 4.0,' which entails all kinds of new technology ranging from intelligent and connected controls, to asset tracking and knowledge, robotics, cobots, 3-D manufacturing, and real-time advanced data analytics," said William Wappler, president and CEO of Surgere, an industry-leading Ohio-based exhibitor and sponsor of the Innovation Zone. "Creating the Innovation Zone was a way for us to collect the ‘i4.0' tools, people and latest ideas together in the same place. It's going to be powerful."

Davis said interested exhibitors can apply to be part of the Innovation Zone on the SAC website.

About the SAC:
The Southern Automotive Conference is presented jointly each year by the automotive manufacturing associations of Alabama (AAMA), Georgia (GAMA), Mississippi (MAMA) and Tennessee (TAMA). The South Carolina Automotive Council (SCAC) and Southern Automotive Women's Forum (SAWF) are affiliate members of SAC. The Alabama Automotive Manufacturing Association is this year's SAC host organization.

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