In just over a century, automotive technology has advanced from the Benz Classic to modern cars. New automotive technologies have led to exponential growth in car development, with the last ten-year seeing significant advancement that surpass all the years before them.
One of the reasons is a shift in automotive technology, as car developers now emphasize safety. This focus on safety has led to the integration of smart devices, the development of lighter and stronger frame materials, and more safety-oriented technologies.
New automotive technologies also help to highlight places where our attention drifts during the driving experience. Cars are being designed with new sensors that help to fill
roles that ordinary human senses have difficulty with, to make driving safer and more enjoyable.
New Frames And Material Designs
Car designs rely on a delicate balance of toughness and weight. Vehicles need to be designed with materials strong enough to take an impact and protect you. The materials also need to be lightweight enough not to strain the automotive technology under the hood, however.
Cars have steadily progressed from wooden frames to iron and steel bodies. In the last several decades, many vehicles have turned to a combination of steel and carbon fiber.
But in the last decade, the development of new, lightweight carbon fiber and plastic frames has improved car frames significantly. The frames are light but tough, similar to Kevlar vests.
These lighter designs make vehicles more fuel efficient and support the ecosystem. Plastic frames are also cheaper to produce and absorb the shock of impacts better than metal frames.
Global Positioning Satellite Navigation
If you told the developer of vehicles in the 1990s that nearly all drivers would have access to some form of GPS software within a decade, most would have scoffed. But GPS is now available in our phones and is increasingly common in cars with online
The benefits of GPS are obvious; they assist drivers attempting to reach destinations they are unfamiliar with. They also make it easier to navigate difficult streets and complex road systems.
GPS makes it easier to locate stolen vehicles, and it can assist police in deterring criminal activities. GPS capable of detecting speeds and driving habits, and comparing them to local regulations to ensure safe driving, are also in development.
Wi-Fi And Keyless Technology
Traditional car radios were perhaps the first automotive technology to feel the sting of Wi-Fi enabled cars. Cars boasting of connectivity are safer and make for more enjoyable rides for families.
Though door locks were the first step to securing vehicles, internet-enabled vehicles provide many new possibilities for car owners. Using cell phones or connected devices, you can disable the starter in vehicles, rendering them inoperable until you return.
Many cars also utilize keyless starters using an electrical signal from the engine itself. These new starters may require a signal from a cell phone. Others are being developed to recognize when a biometric signature is within range, to make the car truly yours, though.
New remote vehicle shutdown blocks are also in development. This technology already exists and helps to disable engines in stolen or missing vehicles. The primary focus going forward is to make this technology more efficient, and tie it to more of the engine's integral systems.
This will allow vehicles to be disabled safely, in case a stolen vehicle is in motion and may pose a danger to others. It's also the first step toward cars that can be controlled remotely and is integral to the idea of self-driving cars.
Automatic Emergency Braking
In proper driving circumstances, your vehicles should remain a certain distance away from other objects and vehicles for safety. Automatic emergency braking helps to prevent collisions between your vehicle and other objects, vehicles, or even pedestrians.
Automatic emergency braking can respond faster than human reaction times. Recent development has focused on sensors that can distinguish between the silhouettes of different objects to determine if braking is necessary, as well.
One of the most interesting sensors being developed is a sonar system. It bounces waves off of the pavement to detect the distance to other vehicles and car-sized objects on the road with ease.
Of course, automatic emergency braking systems require automotive technology that can keep up. Brakes that can endure greater stopping pressure without damaging wheel barrels is essential.
The development of new suspension systems able to absorb the shock from stronger and faster vehicles is required as well. It also needs to be able to moderate itself and deal with lesser shocks efficiently, if it is to be utilized in self-driving vehicles and automatic braking systems in the future.
Backup Cameras And Parking Sensors
Some sensors are designed to enhance the use of our human senses while using automobiles. Parking-assist and backup cameras help enhance visibility behind and around our cars.
As new parking lots and city layouts are built, parking naturally becomes more difficult. Parking sensors allow cars to fit into spaces more efficiently and avoid clipping or damage to bumpers.
Backup cameras also lessen the risk of accidents involving pedestrians. One of the lesser mentioned benefits is the ability to spot potential muggers and threats outside the vehicle, as well.
One of the greatest risks of parking is that you have to focus your attention in one direction, leaving yourself and your vehicle vulnerable to the other three. That's why 360-degree cameras are in production for high-end automobiles.
Cheaper versions are also in development so they can be added to all automobiles. Furthermore, all vehicles produced after 2018 are already required to have backup cameras. Their contribution to safer automobiles is considered evident enough to be essential.
Lane Assist Technology
Another automotive technology required for self-driving cars is lane assist technology. This technology utilizes sensors that detect certain paints on the blacktop to avoid swerving and car to car collisions.
Lines are already being repainted across modern roadways with a somewhat luminescent paint that these sensors can detect. A lane keeps assist system can pair this with an automatic braking system to alter your vehicle's speed and direction for safer driving.
Paint that might indicate an area's speed limit has also entered the conversation. Automotive technology could combine this with GPS technology and side view cameras to further recognize when a driver is ignoring driving laws or may be a danger to others.
Hybrid Fuel Systems
One of the most important focal points of automotive engineers is the development of more energy efficient fuel systems. The development of more renewable fuel is helpful, but it must also be efficient enough to move the considerable weight of a car’s frame.
The first major design after fossil fuels was the electric car. Electrically charged engines are currently inefficient, and the horsepower of an electric car is severely reduced. This includes vehicles that convert energy from sunlight into electrical fuel using solar panels.
Hybrid vehicles are the most efficient fuel systems currently. Some hybrids designs can still be wasteful. However, hybrids generally combine the power of fossil fuel systems with some of the renewable, environmentally friendly traits of electric motors.
The development of ethanol fuels is a key point in future automotive technology. Ethanol produced from renewable resources can be combined with small amounts of other fuels, like gasoline, for a larger reaction using significantly smaller amounts of fossil fuel.
The problem modern automotive technology faces is the sharp drop in power when using more efficient fuels. The development of a new fuel that can be both powerful and environmentally friendly is the focus of modern automotive study and will be the next great breakthrough.
More Powerful Engines
When the first automobiles were produced, they hoped to emulate one horsepower. In 2018 a new Ford supercar debuted with a V6 engine capable of 600 horsepower.
A strong front end provides a variety of benefits to new car designs. More power allows vehicles to traverse hills and difficult terrain with greater ease.
This allows vehicles to reach disaster zones with less strain and increases the number of locations where humans can live. Responders can also reach the sites of accidents and trouble faster, which may save lives.
Better designs under the hood can also lead to improved speed. This has led to, and benefits, the development of motorsports like NASCAR. It also appeals to sports car enthusiasts.
Combined with automotive technology that utilizes better-designed fuel, this means vehicles can generate more power from fuels that cost our environment less. The end goal may not be an engine with the highest horsepower ever, but one that generates moderate horsepower cheaply.
Automotive technology has elevated cars, making them exponentially more efficient and
powerful in recent years. The two focuses of design that most influenced this change were stronger, more lightweight frame designs, and the development of more efficient fuel sources.
The introduction of smart technology and positioning sensors has aided this development. Sensors allow cars to automatically detect improper driving, changes in the engine block, and other deviations to help control cars and detect defects that make
driving vehicles more dangerous.