The car is an invention that has changed our lives and transformed the way we live by opening the doors to private transport. Since the inception of the automobile, our vehicles have been radically altered to embrace emerging trends and their development is an ongoing evolution. Car designs have changed quite a bit since they were first introduced by an endless cycle of innovation, technology and materials.
Throughout the decades, car designs have acquired many technological advances. They have helped to bring about major design changes and more than a century later, there is no sign that it is slowing down. These technologies have allowed for more complicated compound curves of a car’s body to be built at a much faster rate instead of the hundreds of man hours of the past. Take for example, the Ford Model T, which revolutionized the industry by introducing cars made in an assembly line. The car has emerged from a curious invention and leisure vehicle in the early days, to objects of mass production and a necessity of modern life. With each technological innovation, new designs and materials have sparked a new cycle.
The engine of change
Engines were the first technology that influenced car designs, but engines went through extensive changes in an effort to become efficient and practical. With the continued improvements to car engine power and performance, car designs evolved to allow for faster, more stable and safer cars. Although engine power still evolves today, the emphasis has shifted towards aesthetics and practicality since weight tends to be reduced in new designs. As we have seen in the past decade, the engine has evolved in power efficiency rather than in raw power. While the engine has been the driving force for design change in earlier times, nothing has changed the future of cars than the computer revolution.
When computers began to be used as the preferred choice of design tools, a dramatic change occurred in the industry to car design. Computers allowed experimentation with countless options to be used in the design process and each possibility helped to improve the end-product’s quality a little further. Computers let the design architects try and undo various actions, think outside the box or branch out the design. Computers became invaluable as great time savers that freed designers from tedious calculations and drawing tasks. Today’s computers are powerful enough to let designers run physics simulations that can be used to test the resistance of various materials. Computers can run virtual wind tunnels to test aerodynamic properties of the designs and create a virtual environment in which countless scenarios can be simulated without the cost or risks of real-world experiments.
Historically, steel has been the material of choice to build cars since their humble beginnings. Steel was solid enough to build the car’s structure and strong enough to withstand eventual impacts. From the time the first cars rolled off the assembly line, cars took on more steel over time in addition to the higher horsepower, but eventually reality set in. The added weight contributed to higher fuel costs and costlier repairs. Car manufacturers knew they had to come up with lighter designs that did not compromise the structural integrity of the vehicle. Aluminum became the material of choice to lighten the engines and various parts of the car. This material was also instrumental in making aviation viable. Today, Aluminum is routinely used in greater quantities in modern cars, and this trend is likely to continue for some time.
Energy efficiency is the number one priority for future car technology. Between rising oil prices and the demand for automobiles in emerging countries, electric and hybrid engines have increased because they are the cleanest energy replacement to oil-powered motors. Other alternative fuel vehicles include hydrogen cars, compressed-air cars and liquid nitrogen cars.
Production of such exotic materials like carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes are futuristic materials that may be of assistance where an extraordinary ratio between weight and resistance is required. These materials are not being massively utilized, but chances are that the next technological revolution will be based on using new materials like these. Other future designs include safety sensors, artificial vision systems and collision assistance sensors. Driverless cars are already being tested by some companies with prototypes already on the road.
Collision repair is what we specialize in at Waterdown Collision. Contact us if you’re in need of collision repair, auto body repair, dent repair, etc. Waterdown Collision has the knowledge and expertise needed to restore your car back to normal.