Top 10 Things to See at the Detroit Auto Show That Aren't Cars

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit is full of wondrous new vehicles from the world’s top car manufacturers.

It also has a few other attractions that range from informative to obscure. Want to see what it’s like to shoot some hoops as if you were high on drugs? No problem. Got a giant boat that needs to be taken through a war zone? Do we have a display for you!

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So, for those car addicts trying to convince not-so-enthusiastic friends to accompany them to the 2016 North American International Auto Show, here are 10 attractions they might like.

10. Toyota Agent+ Demo

Tucked in the back of the Toyota display is the Agent+ Demo. It’s a peek into a future traffic and mobility infrastructure system that would help drivers select their route based on several factors like time, traffic, day of the week and weather.

9. Ford Lego

Are you a fan of Lego? Why not head over the Ford booth and play with some small interlocking plastic bricks? There are even a few replicas of Ford vehicles like the F-150 and Mustang.

8. Kyle Busch Race Car

OK, this is a car, but it’s not available to consumers. It’s a NASCAR Sprint Cup car driven by none other than Kyle Busch. Yup, 2015 series champion Kyle Busch.

7. Volvo Bowers and Wilkins Display

Volvo and Bowers and Wilkins want to show just how sophisticated the new audio system in vehicles like the XC90 and S90 are. To do so, they have set up a re-creation of the speaker layout in a car right on the brand’s showroom floor playing some peaceful, zen rainfall.

6. Ford F-150 Pro Trailer Backup Assist Simulator

Ford has a trick new pro trailer backup assist system that helps drivers back up trailers easily and without jack knifing. Why the truck needs to be lifted 20 feet into the air to demonstrate it is beyond us, but it looks cool!

5. U.S. Army Display

Hidden on the basement level of Cobo Hall is a display from the U.S Army. Even if you are not a military buff, these hardcore, purpose-built war machines are impressive beasts.

4. Audi Lunar Quattro

Audi is looking to expand into new markets, and has their four-ringed eyes on the moon. As a potential entrant into the X prize contest, the cute little Lunar Quattro is just itching to get into space.

3. Ford Super Duty Off-Road Simulator

To show just how capable Ford’s new F-150 Super Duty is in the virtual world, a simulator complete with terrain replicating hydraulics awaits you in Ford’s massive display in Detroit. It takes drivers around a test course complete with water crossings, muddy ruts and steep inclines.

2. Dodge Viper Challenge

Blurring the lines between reality and make believe, the Dodge Viper Challenger allows auto show visitors to step inside a Dodge Viper that is actually a full-scale video game controller. Complete with sounds and motion, this is as close as you can get to actually racing a Viper.

1. Ford Impaired Simulator

Ford wants to show you just how much control you lose over your body when impaired. Set to simulate inebriating effects, three different “suits” are available for sample that replicate being drunk, being high or experiencing the level of bodily control similar to that of a 3-year-old. Once suited up, you’re guided over to an arcade basketball machine where hilarity ensues as you try to drain baskets.

Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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