Automotive Innovation

Timeline created by callen13
  • First Automobile

    First Automobile
    Benz Patent-Motorwagen was considered first fully functional automobile that was propelled by a gas engine. It featured a 954 cc one-cylinder 4-stroke engine which produced 2/3 of a horsepower.
  • Headlamps

    Headlamps
    The earliest version of headlamps date back to the late 1880s. This headlamp consisted of a lamp fueled by oil with a reflecting mirror. The first electrical lights were introduced in 1898. Subsequently companies came out with more refinded versions of the headlights which led to our modern day headlight.
  • Steering Wheel

    Steering Wheel
    Before steering wheels, cars were steered by using a tiller. The first steering wheel recorded was used by Alfred Vacheron when he drove the Panhard model during the Paris-Rouen race. It was then introduced to the U.S when it was used in the Packard. Steering wheels became standard by the time the Model T came into production.
  • First Production Automobile in United States

    First Production Automobile in United States
    The Oldsmobile Curved Dash is considered as the first mass-produced automobile in the United States. It was built from 1901-1907. A total of 19,000 units were built.
  • Speedometer

    Speedometer
    The first mechanical speedometer was equipped in the Oldsmobile Curved Dash. In the 1920s mechanical speedometers were integrated into the transmission to record speed. This design lasted until 1976, when the first electronic speedometer was invented.
  • Car Horn

    Car Horn
    Vehicle horns have been around for quite some time. In the late 1800s, early 1900s drivers typically used bulbhorns, whistles, and other bells to signify warning or any other type of emergency. The electromechanical Klaxon horn was the predecessor for todays mondern diaphragm horns.
  • GPS Navigation

    GPS Navigation
    Surprisingly enough, navigation devices date back to the early 1900s. Jonas Live Map was the revolutionary first recorded directional guide in history. The Live Map was a small turntable device with a cable that attached to an automobile’s odometer. Before making their journeys, drivers would purchase paper discs with the route to their destination." The first modern day GPS was used by Oldsmobile in 1995. They called it GuideStar.
  • Rear-View Mirror

    Rear-View Mirror
    The earliest known recording of the use of a rear view mirror was in 1911 when Ray Harroun used one on his Marmon "Wasp" racecar during the Indianapolis 500. Elmer Berger was credited for being the first to develop the rear-view mirror on production street vehicles.
  • Electric Self Starter

    Electric Self Starter
    Before electric starters, drivers used to have to crank the engine over by hand. This proved to be very dangerous at times. In 1896 the first electric self star was installed on an Arnold (automobile) in England by a H.J. Dowsing. In 1911, Charles F. Kettering invented the first electric starter in the US. The first production cars they were installed on were Cadillacs in 1912.
  • Windshield Wiper

    Windshield Wiper
    "Window Cleaning Devices" were invented in 1903 by Mary Anderson. These wipers hand to be manual cranked from the inside of the car. In 1917 Tri-Continental Corporation released the industry's first windshield wiper, Rain Rubber. In 1922, inventor William M. Folberth's pantent had been approved for the first automatic windshield wiping system.
  • Radio

    Radio
    Car radios have over 80 years of development behind them. "In 1929, American Paul Galvin, the head of Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, invented the first car radio. The first car radios were not available from carmakers. Consumers had to purchase the radios separately. Galvin coined the name "Motorola" for the company's new products combining the idea of motion and radio."
  • Turn-Signals

    Turn-Signals
    Automotive Innovation has been progressing rapidly over the past century. However, turn signals are one of the few safety features that has stayed the same for the past 7 decades. In 1938, Buick advertised for a "Flash-Way Direction Signal," which is the first recorded use of turn-signals on a production car.
  • Air Conditioning

    Air Conditioning
    The production car to have air conditioning was the Packard in 1940 along with its new power window feature as well. By 1969 more than half of the cars sold were equipped with air conditioning. Today more than 99 percent of new cars sold have A/C.
  • Power Windows

    Power Windows
    Along with the first air conditioning system, Packard released the first power windows. These windows featured. a hyrdo-electric design. There were also other versions of power windows that were strictly electricly operatated and some that were vaccum operated.
  • Key & Ignition Switch

    Key & Ignition Switch
    In 1949, Chrysler Corp. became the first to offer a combination key-operated ignition and starter switch. Previously, the starter was operated by a separate button on the dash or by a button on the floor above the accelerator pedal.
  • Power Steering

    Power Steering
    Without power steering , it would take a lot more effort to maneuver the car at low speeds. The first recorded patent related to power steering was in 1932 by Francis W. Davis. However power steering was not commercially available until 1951, when it was used in the Chrysler Imperial. Chrysler released this feature under the name of Hydraguide.
  • Cruise Control

    Cruise Control
    Cruise Control was invented in 1945 by Ralph Teetor because he got frustrated that his lawyer would always fluctuate his speed while he was talking and driving. The first car to use his invention was the 1958 Chrysler Imperial.
  • Seat Belt

    Seat Belt
    Seat Belts have been around since the early 19th century, but these were just two-point lap betls. The revolutionary shoulder belt was patented in 1958 by Volvo and then became standard on their cars in 1959.
  • Drive-By-Wire

    Drive-By-Wire
    The throttle cable has almost become redundant on today’s motor vehicle. The drive-by-wire system is by no means a new concept as it was introduced by BMW on their 7 series range back in 1988. The system BMW use is referred to as EML (German term for electronic throttle control). A mechanical linkage between the accelerator pedal and the throttle butterfly has now been replaced by sophisticated electronic control modules, sensors, and actuators.
  • Airbags

    Airbags
    Airbags have been around since the 50s, but never as standard equipments. Throughout the 70s, airbags were an option on some of Ford, Chevy, and Buick cars. In 1988 Chrysler became the first company to require all of its vehicles to have airbags as standard. In 1998 airbags became mandatory in all cars.
  • Self Parking Assist

    Self Parking Assist
    The first intelligent parking assist was introduced by Toyota in 2004 which was used on the Prius. This system was used to reverse parallel parking. Built-in cameras and sensors helped the car estimate parking space size and maneuver the car accodingly without hitting anything.
  • Blind Spot Intervention

    Blind Spot Intervention
    Volvo developed the industry's first blind spot monitor in 2005 on their S80 sedan. The car displayed a "visible alert when a car entered the blind spot while a driver was switching lanes, using two door mounted lenses to check the blind spot area for an impending collision."
  • WiFi

    WiFi
    Several auto manufacturers are already working on developing wifi for cars. Ford has introduced this in some models with their Sync system, and Toyota is working with Intel on developing one of their own. Ideally, these systems will also have the ability to connect to your home network, allowing you to transfer information from your computer or laptop directly to your car.
  • Digital Dashboard

    Digital Dashboard
    "By 2020, your dashboard will likely resemble a giant iPad. Ideally, that means your car’s system can be linked to whatever cloud service your smartphones and tablets use, allowing you to keep up with texts, calls, emails, social network updates, and apps from behind the wheel."
  • Car-To-Car Communication

    Car-To-Car Communication
    "Once cars are connected thanks to technologies such as Intel’s M2M (Machine-to-Machine), they’ll be able to share data with other cars on the road and warn drivers of accidents, as well as figure out alternate routes based on real-time information — which in turn will help cut down on traffic and increase safety on the road."