As technology continues to advance at breakneck speed, it will be exciting to see what the next 10 years will be like for the automotive industry. As we have speculated in our post ‘How Will the Auto Industry Change in the Next 10 Years?’ the next decade is likely to entail changes in consumer mobility behaviour, an increase in connectivity, more autonomous vehicles, greater demand for electric vehicles and slower vehicle unit sales. However, to understand where the auto industry is going, we must first take a look at some of the greatest automobile innovations from the past to the present day.
Before automatic transmission made it into the mainstream it was considered as a luxury and an expensive option on many models for a long time. Fortunately, nowadays, a transmission that shifts gears on its own has become as widespread as power windows and air conditioning.
There are two basic types of automatic transmission: the traditional automatic, and the dual-clutch automatic. The traditional automatic is connected to the engine through a hydraulic torque converter(a very complicated fluid coupling), while a dual-clutch automatic relies on the clutches. The easy adoption of automatic cars into mainstream use can be attributed to the smoother and more comfortable driving experience they offer, especially in stop-and-go traffic. In addition to this, cars with automatic transmission tend to require less maintenance compared to manual ones and offer greater performance and efficiency since a dual-clutch automatic gearbox can shift gears in a matter of milliseconds.
Learn more about Automatic transmissions here with tons of animations!
Every single one of us can agree that the most innovative safety breakthrough when it comes to automobiles, aside from seatbelts, is airbags. After being widely adopted in the late 1980s, airbags effectively reduced overall driver fatalities in frontal crashes by 28%. Given the reality that Indian roads are some of the most dangerous in the world with road accidents claiming 147,913 and injuring 470,975 in 2017, the government in India included driver-side airbags among the things every car should have from July 2019 onwards. As an innovation that continues to save lives even 40 years after they were invented, airbags have continued to evolve over the years.
A great example of this is the Autoliv Front Centre Airbag, which has been designed specifically to help avoid driver-to-interior and driver-to passenger impact. It is going to be equipped in 19 models in 2020.
If you are a driver, one of the things you probably dread the most is parking your car, especially if you live in places like India where parking lots are always packed. So when self-parking cars became a reality, many people across the globe were unsurprisingly delighted.
The first car to demonstrate self-parallel parking was the Lexus LS 460 back in 2006: in a controversial TV commercial, viewers could see the car back smoothly and quickly into a parking space. However, while the actual ability of the car to park itself is far from what is showcased, it definitely kickstarted the development of other innovations such as rear cross-traffic alerts and rear-view back-up cameras. Additionally, since 2006, design software has become more sophisticated, with PCB viewing software enabling designers to share schematics through their browsers, making collaboration and innovation more efficient.
These days, we look forward to cars that not only park themselves but also drive themselves. Recently, Tesla founder Elon Musk shared on his official Twitter account that the software they use for their “full self-driving” option is growing closer and closer to full self-driving capability, thanks to recent technological improvements.
Do you think there are any other innovations that should’ve caught our attention? Comment down below and we will update and include it as well 😀