The technology found in today's vehicles has come a long way over the last 20-years or so. Options that were once thought to be a luxury are now standard on most models. Not only has new tech made them safer, but they're also more fun and efficient to drive. To appreciate how far they've come, let's look at some of the important milestones along the way.
On average, about 6 million vehicle-related accidents occur each year in the US. Automakers have invested a great deal of time, effort, and money to make modern vehicles safer. Let’s review a few of them:
- Seat Belts
- Front and Side Airbags
- ABS Brakes
1 in 7 passengers forgets to buckle up, which increases the chance of serious injury by about 50%. Although simple by design, seat belts reduce the risk of death by around 45%.
Since 1987, the NHTSA reports that frontal-airbags have saved more than 50,000 lives. Fast forward to the present, and this number has only grown thanks to side-curtain airbags.
Anti-lock brakes prevent your wheels from locking up during an emergency maneuver. This allows you to control the situation rather than slide recklessly.
Not all features have made the users experience better. Clumsy execution has sidelined quite a few. In the last 5-10 years though, automakers have made drastic improvements. Here are some of the most useful options meant to make your morning commute easier:
- Infotainment Systems
Not too long ago, map data was stored on DVDs, meaning more lag time that led to bad routes. Today, there's less to worry about thanks to flash drives that are faster and more reliable.
Early systems were slow and required a lot of attention to use. Today’s vehicles are far more advanced. Things like voice control and hand gestures help drivers stay focused on the road.
Nowadays, vehicles are more connected than ever before. Not only is Bluetooth found on most models, but now passengers can enjoy movies and music through the use of 4G LTE. This also means that if an accident occurs in a rural area that you can contact help.
One of the main areas that automakers have focused on in recent years has been fuel economy. Regulations have become stricter than ever, requiring that vehicles produce fewer emissions. 15-years ago, the most-efficient vehicles could deliver around 30-mpg. Today, this number has improved a lot, let's look at some of the technology that makes it possible:
- Cylinder De-activation
- Engine Displacement/Turbos
Once at highway speed (about 35-mph or more), many engines can shut down cylinders that aren't needed. In early years this was only available on V8 engines, nowadays it’s available on many models, even hybrids.
Hybrids use a mix of battery-powered parts that work beside a gasoline engine. One of the main features of a Hybrid is regenerative brakes - which charges the battery when braking. Automakers have further advanced this technology with fully-electric models. Instead of using gasoline, electric vehicles need charging.
If you remember the muscle car days, engines used to be a lot larger. Thanks to technology advancements this has changed, without sacrificing power. V8-engines are a lot harder to find these days. Replaced instead by 4-cylinder options that feature a turbo to keep them potent.
The Buying Experience
Not only has vehicle technology improved, but the buying process has as well. The internet has opened up an endless number of possibilities to make shopping for a new-vehicle easier than ever. Consider AutoDigg.com, a free and easy solution that’s proven to take the pressure out of the buying process. It's simple - create an account, specify the make, model, color, and year of the car you’re after, and dealers will compete to produce a competitive price. All from the comfort of your own home. For information on how car buying has improved through the use of technology - take a look at a few of the industry trends for 2019