In the early 1900s, Henry Ford first rolled out the Model T, which contained a slew of features that were ahead of their time, including a hand crank to start the engine and a handbrake that helped to disengage the gears.
Fast forward more than a century and the automotive industry has certainly come a long way in terms of sophistication and technology. Indeed, if Ford were alive today, he would likely be blown away by technology in the form of push engine start switches, satellite radio, Bluetooth capability and built-in entertainment systems.
Oh, how technology continues to advance and make life more easy and enjoyable. With that in mind, here are four ways design, function and technology come together in modern cars:
1. Tech Meets Tires
From the distance it takes your car to come to a complete stop to the speed at which you can enter a turn all depends on the quality of your tires. Of course, tires have come a long way over the years — and technology has certainly played a key role. To make cars function better as a whole, manufacturers have developed innovative tires that provide increased gas mileage, improve traction and offer a better driving experience.
For example, Ironman tires feature a tread compound that’s designed to lower rolling resistance, which ultimately provides motorists with added fuel cost savings. In particular, the Ironman iMove tire is made with a silica tread compound on an asymmetric pattern that channels water away from the tire, which can prevent hydroplaning.
2. GPS Replaces Bulky Maps
While the glove compartment in your parents’ car was likely jam-packed with huge maps, the capabilities of built-in GPS can help direct you to virtually any and all destinations. As Top Ten Reviews notes, these in-dash systems receive a signal from satellites that can help pinpoint your exact longitude, latitude and movement.
As you’re no doubt familiar, users of GPS devices can enter the address of where they’re headed and the technology will then alert them when and where to turn in order to reach their destination. Thanks to this handy technology, you no longer have to rely on your passengers’ map-reading skills or pull over at a gas station to ask for directions.
3. Bluetooth: More Than Hands-Free Calling
In the not-so-recent past, making and receiving calls from your car could, at best, be described as a minimal distraction and, at worst, be the leading cause of getting into an accident. Fortunately, technology has evolved to a point where motorists can simply hit a button to answer an incoming call. But Bluetooth capabilities provide more benefits beyond hands-free calling.
For example, motorists can stream music in their vehicle without having to plug in an auxiliary cord to their iPod, as well as use this technology to uncover issues with their vehicle. In fact, Android smartphone users can diagnose issues related to their check engine light with a Bluetooth adapter.
4. Backup Camera Gives You an Extra Set of Eyes
Backing up can be a harrowing experience. To safely get out of your driveway, you always need to be aware of any children, pets or belongings that could be in harm’s way. That’s where a backup camera enters the equation to not only ensure your and others’ safety, but also offer you better peace of mind.
In fact, these cameras often provide drivers with more visibility than they would otherwise get when turning their head in either direction. Some backup cameras also include a rear cross traffic alert system, which makes a sound when it detects an oncoming vehicle trailing you.
What’s Next? We’ll Have to Wait and See.
These days, cutting-edge car technology may seem advanced to us, but the future — heck, this may include the months and years ahead — is full of endless opportunities. Breakthroughs like asymmetrical tires, built-in GPS and backup cameras that allow us to safely get to and from virtually anywhere may one day seem like old-fashioned technology to future generations. But as time goes on, it will be interesting to watch as technology advances and makes vehicles even safer and easier to drive.