We’ve come a long way since the Benz Patent Motor Car and the developments made recently have heightened our love for driving — from electric car windows to reverse-camera technology! But, perks such as these haven’t always been a given. Exactly who invented the first-ever automobile may be up for debate — many believe it was Karl Benz — but what can’t be argued is that it certainly didn’t resemble the hi-tech vehicle we use today.
Created in 1885, the Benz patent Motor Car was powered by just one single cylinder four-stroke engine — revolutionary for its time. Fast forward 133 years and your typical petrol-fueled economy car has either three, four or six cylinders.
Here, we look at car developments throughout time and how technology has changed the car industry. After all, as technology keeps advancing, so too will the car we drive.
The upgraded car radio
You can’t deny that as soon as you enter the car door, you stick your heaters on and tune into your favourite radio station. While this is second nature to us these days, it was first introduced to our vehicles in 1930.
Pioneered by Paul and Joseph Galvin and William Lear, this allowed motorists to have access to the AM radio. Compact cassettes arrived on the scene in the 1960s, before car stereos started to rival home versions for their sound quality in the 80s. Nowadays, a lot of drivers connect their own music systems – often their mobile phones – to listen to their favourite tunes, and if we don’t, many car radio systems are now touchscreen.
The essential anti-lock brakes
Anti-lock braking systems haven’t always been a required safety feature of a car. ABS’s development has been a long process since first being a concept in the 1920s. Until the 1950s, the system was primarily used on aircrafts, but by the 60s, car manufacturers began to experiment with the technology. It wasn’t until the 90s that ABS and related systems became commonplace.
The lifesaving parking sensors
Parking sensors are still relatively new to most cars as not every vehicle has them. However, they first burst onto the scene in the 70s and were originally supposed to be guidance devices for the blind.
Simply put, these parking sensors are positioned on the vehicles bumpers and can detect any obstacles using ultrasonic technology. This device become widely used in the early 2000s and is now the most common and basic parking system available.
The love of camera technology
You can’t deny that cameras are now a main selling point for cars. Whether it’s a dash-cam to record everything that is happening around you – where there’s blame there’s a claim, right? – or reverse cameras to help you park, these are really becoming a staple addition to any new car.
But opposed to what most drivers think, they’ve been around for a while. In 1956, Buick’s Centurion concept car included the technology. However, again like parking sensors, this helpful tool wasn’t used mainstream until the turn of the millennium.
The importance of on-board diagnostics
At one time, your car could break down and you wouldn’t know why — but not now. Since 1994, on-board diagnostics have been able to indicate to us that there is a problem before it’s too late. We may not know what the symbols always mean, but by detecting a fault or an issue, we are able to seek the help to fix the problem before it causes further issues.
The rise of electric cars
Electric vehicles are only becoming popular, but were introduced over a century ago. By 2030, the UK’s government has proposed that three-fifths of cars sold should be electric. Whether this target is met remains to be seen, but with dealerships ready to introduce the new electric version of the popular Corsa to their fleet next year, it’s clear that many manufacturers realise the importance of the electric car’s future.
You can’t deny that there have been many changes over the years that have changed the way we get around. With plans in place to have fully autonomous cars rolled out as soon as 2021, it’s clear that technology will never cease to change the car industry — find out more from expert Vauxhall dealers today. The invention would mean that in less than 150 years, we would have gone from our first car to our maiden autonomous car. Now that is fast!