Those of us who have been driving for the last 50−60+ years have seen great change. At first, it was slow; we went from manual shift to automatic shift transmissions, then we started adding simple things such as FM radio (yes, that was a premium add-on in the early ‘60s), then air conditioning and power windows, fuel injection, cruise control, airbags, and in the last decadeeverything from GPS to LED lighting to automatic speed and distance control, back-up and surrounding cameras and so much more. Many of these additions are now considered standard features and some are still premium add-ons; however, the trend is that today’s premium add-ons on a very high-end car will become standard on an economy vehicle after a few years.
Many of these features added comfort, entertainment and convenience; however, many also improved safety (e.g., airbags), driver capability and reliability (over the last few years, computer diagnostics). For example, computer diagnostics has significantly shaped the way that automobile owners maintain their cars. Since the turn of the century, cars have increasingly been built with on-board computers to warn owners regarding power train problems or other issues before any damage is done. Before the addition of computer diagnostics technology, most car owners did not know something was failing until something actually did. At first, these advances were slow to arrive—every few years there would be something new—then a few years later it would become commonplace. But lately, just as the rate of advance has accelerated for everything, so has it been for the transportation industry.
To read the full version of this article which appeared in the April 2018 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.