The automotive industry is one of the prime movers of the global economy. The invention of the automobile is a milestone in the history of transportation and social advancement. Automobiles have impacted the manner in which people live and travel the world over, and touched all facets of society including families, economy and environment.
The automotive industry began in the 1860s with the advent of the horseless carriage. However, it was Karl Benz who invented the first gas-powered car in 1885. Benz’s rudimentary car had only three wheels and accommodated merely two people, but it marked the beginning of the gas-powered automobile. But it wasn’t until Henry Ford’s 1906 Model T that automobiles started to resemble what we have today.
Automobiles were first mass-produced and became affordable in the 1920s, thanks to Ford’s invention of the assembly line. These automobiles came equipped with features such as speedometers, seatbelts and rear-view mirrors. The next major development in the automotive industry took place in the late 80s, by way of keyless entry systems, electric doors and CD players. We are now in the golden, brave new world of automotive industry, characterized by MP3 players, hard drives, advanced safety systems, GPS and much more.
Automotive technology is driving today’s vehicles. The modern cars are sophisticated digital machines that can communicate seamlessly with the outside world with the help of electronics that are embedded into them. Advanced radar technology and computer-controlled engine systems are fuelling technological transformation and transforming engine construction, fuel and ignition systems, brakes and transmission devices.
The on-board diagnostics systems detect and provide warning of malfunctions long before these conditions can become precarious to both man and vehicle. Features such as airbags, safety locks, child locks, anti-skid brakes and rear facing cameras have enhanced car safety. Cruise control ensures that the car moves at an optimal speed, making for better fuel consumption and a smoother ride. Infrared radiation, thermal imaging, cameras and displays have turned driving into a secure experience, while LED headlights make night driving less dreadful. Navigation systems such as GPS have simplified driving as one can stream maps and follow instructions to make one’s way to the destination. There are also many environment-friendly options, such as hybrids with dual fuel options and regular fuel-efficient cars. The recent developments in self-driving cars and fully autonomous vehicles are set to change the face of fleet management. Companies such as ORIX are in the forefront of providing innovative fleet management solutions that streamline operations, and consolidate the wealth of data for better decision making and superior customer service.
The cars are getting cheaper and better with each passing day. Futuristic automobile technologies are leading to safe driving and facilitating a new driving experience. While the automobile shaped the 20th century more than any other invention, the technology of the 21st century is shaping the next leap in the automobiles space.