Tuesday, October 2, 2007
The Most Remarkable Auto Innovations

You are into cars and auto stuffs. But do you know the most remarkable auto innovations which have invaded the auto industry like a beneficial deluge in the past few decades?

Clueless? Well, The Star has made a timely recap…

1. Airbag

The airbag was invented in 1951 in the US by John W Hetrick, a former naval engineer. The key component - a ball-in-tube sensor for crash detection - was then invented by Allen K Breed, and the innovation was marketed to Chrysler in 1967.
2. Safety Belt

Safety belts were invented in the 1800s by George Cayley, a prolific engineer and pioneer of aeronautical engineering. The belts were introduced first to aircraft by Adolphe Pegoud in 1913 - the first pilot to fly upside down. After the Saab GT 750 was introduced at the New York motor show in 1958 with safety belts fitted as standard, the practice became commonplace.

3. Immobiliser

Early models worked by preventing ignition unless a static code in the ignition key was recognised by a radio-frequency identification checked to match the vehicle's engine control unit. Later models attempted to block the ability to copy this code by using rolling codes or advanced cryptography.

4. Navigation Systems/GPS

Typically using a GPS (Global Positioning Service), the automotive navigation system acquires data to locate the user on the unit's map database. There are a number of claimants as to who first created the system; Alpine claims to have invented the first automotive navigation system in 1981, while Honda claims the first navigation system in 1983, available in the 1990 Acura Legend. The first GPS-based auto navigation system has been claimed by Pioneer in 1990.

5. Anti-lock brakes

First developed in 1929 for aircraft, anti-lock braking systems had been in development by the German firms Bosch and Mercedes-Benz since the 1930s. The first completely electronic 4-wheel ABS system was installed in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in 1978, and was first made standard equipment by BMW in 1986.

6. Cruise Control

A centrifugal governing speed control has been used in automobiles as early as the 1910s, with James Watt and Matthew Boulton's Peerless technology, originally designed for use in locomotives in 1788. The modern concept of speed control was designed by the blind inventor Ralph Teetor in 1945, who was frustrated with his car driver's tendency to speed up and slow down as he talked. The first car to use Teetor's system was the 1958 Chrysler Imperial.

7. The Hybrid

With an internal combustion engine and batteries for power, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) can be recharged by connecting to an electrical source. Although no PHEVs are yet in production, Toyota, General Motors and Ford have all announced their intention to introduce the PHEV automobile.

8. Turbo charger

In 1905, the Swiss engineer Alfred Buchi applied for a patent for his internal combustion turbocharger. The system was initially applied to aircraft engines, and was first used in an automobile in 1952 by Fred Agabashian in the Indianapolis 500, giving him pole position and the race lead for 100 miles. Until the '70s the turbocharger was used mainly for sports cars. In 1976, Saab developed a turbo engine with the reliability and durability required for everyday use.

9. The Convertible

The convertible was in fact the original model for automobiles by default, until in 1910, Cadillac invented the first closed-body car. The popularity of the convertible soared in the 1950s and 60s, then all but disappeared in the US due to the threat of new regulations concerning rollover safety requirements.

10. Windscreen Wipers

The method of moving two vertical brushes up and down on a glass windshield was invented by J H Apjohn in 1903, while the patent for the windshield wiper swinging arm was applied for in 1905.

Like myself, I hope you find the article interesting as well.
posted by Car Addict @ 6:34 AM  
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