Since its invention centuries ago, the internal combustion engine has transformed the transportation of man and goods. The car has become not only a necessary part of life, but also a status symbol and show of wealth. Additionally the car has spawned a host of human pastimes and entertainment, the most famous of which is auto racing. Indeed, car racing has been the crucible in which most technological advancements in cars have been conceived.
The pace of technological leaps in the modern world increase exponentially each day and this is more so in the automobile industry. All these changes revolve around the following:
Passenger safety and comfort
The car has been a leading cause of death and injury worldwide for a variety of reasons. Almost all jurisdictions now have strict technical requirements to improve passenger safety. This area has seen lot of advancement which include:
· Use of safety harnesses and inflatable airbags. These have evolved from simple belts to computer aided pre tension systems that lock the passenger into place just before a collision. Airbags lessen injuries to the driver’s body from car components during impact.
- Collision and proximity warning systems: These use laser technology to judge distances and speed, warning the driver of an imminent collision. They also automatically start braking and prepare the passenger for a collision by adjusting the seat position.
- Differential braking and wheel propulsion to maximize power to particular wheels in slippery conditions, increasing off-road utility of the vehicle.
- Advanced braking systems such as ceramic brakes and anti-locking braking systems that prevent the wheels from locking and skidding. These also improve braking distances for safety.
- Chassis crumple-up zones to reduce impact transfer to the cabin during collisions.
- Driving aids such as satellite navigation, GPS and chassis cameras to aid parking etc.
Fuel economy and performance
The days of cheap fuel are gone and increasing concerns about pollution and global warming have necessitated the reduction of car emissions by various advancements. These include:
- Electronic fuel injection which controls fuel flow into the engine, making combustion more efficient.
- Advancements in engine respiration technology such as superchargers and turbo injection pumps. These increase power with less fuel consumption.
- Improvements in aerodynamic design to reduce drag and make the car more fuel efficient.
- Hybrid and electronically powered cars which use a charged battery alone or in concert with a combustion engine, increasing fuel economy.
Computer controlled car functionality
The computer is taking over most functions in the car including fully driving the car in some models. These are similar to auto piloting systems in planes. Others include:
- Cruise control
- Auto dimming lights that switch on and off using light detection sensors.
- Automatic wipers that sense rain.
- Warning systems that detect a driver sleeping and vibrate the steering wheel, jarring the driver awake.
- Auto turning headlights for better visibility around corners.
Driving today has become more fun and enjoyable, with better models that are more affordable coming to market. Public transportation need not be the only way to enjoy this amazing technology. Learn how to drive and book practical driving test to acquire your licence.