Society can often be defined by the technology that it has learned to embrace. Obviously, modern science has allowed us to enjoy some truly innovative advancements and many of these can be taken for granted over time. The materials and systems found within the everyday motor vehicle are two perfect examples. While much of this technology does indeed occur behind the scenes, it has had an indelible impact on our lives in recent times. What are some interesting inventions which have been incorporated into automobiles and how have these served to change our entire driving experience?
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Strong and Lightweight Materials
Most of us associate the use of materials such as titanium, aluminum, and carbon fiber with high-end vehicles such as those commonly seen driving along a Formula One racetrack. However, you might be surprised to learn that these very same substances are beginning to be used by the average consumer. Partially arising from the fact that production methods are cheaper and more efficient than in the past, cars have become more lightweight and yet, much stronger than models compared to a handful of decades ago.
The Use of “Smart” Systems
Vehicular computers first began to appear in the latter half of the 1970s. In the beginning, these systems were relatively rudimentary due to a lack of memory and processing power. They have now evolved to the point where such “thinking machines” offer up a host of smart amenities. Some examples include:
- The ability to diagnose complicated engine problems.
- Built-in global positioning systems.
- Rear parking sensors.
- Directional headlamps.
- Flexible and user-friendly environmental controls.
Not only do smart computers help to enhance the overall driving experience, but they also contribute to our safety while on the open road. For example, some will automatically deflate tires to a specific pressure in order to accommodate for weather conditions while others are beginning to incorporate avoidance technology with the intention of preventing potentially serious accidents.
More Efficient Engines
Engine efficiency has likewise been vastly improved. Not only is this a result of the lightweight materials mentioned earlier, but it involves the use of environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional fossil fuels. Hybrid and all-electric vehicles are becoming commonplace on the open road. Many models can now drive for hundreds of miles before needing to be recharged.
This helps to protect the environment while providing the driver with a more streamlined overall experience. In fact, some analysts predict that we might be able to remove petrol-powered vehicles from the road altogether in a handful of decades. This is great news in terms of global warming as well as our ability to curb the emission of greenhouse gases.
So, we can now see that technology has had a profound impact on even the most average of vehicles. International manufacturers are likewise beginning to realize the possibilities and it only stands to reason that they will be adopting even more advanced and cutting-edge systems in the future.