The automotive industry has seen many design changes over the years. Some of these changes were simply aesthetic, but most were due to engineering advances. Here are some examples of automotive designs that were inspired by the latter.
1. Improved Safety
One of the most important contributions of engineering to automotive design is improved safety features. Airbags, seatbelts, and crumple zones are all safety features implemented in cars as a result of engineering research.
For instance, airbags were first introduced in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the late 1990s that they became standard in all vehicles. This is because it took engineers many years to perfect the technology. Now, airbags have saved countless lives and are one of the car’s most important safety features.
Seatbelts are another example of a safety feature that has been improved by engineering. The first seatbelts were introduced in the early 1900s, but they were not very effective. It wasn’t until the 1950s that engineers designed seatbelts that effectively prevented injuries and fatalities in car accidents.
Crumple zones are a third safety feature that has been inspired by engineering. Crumple zones are areas of a car that are designed to absorb the energy of an impact in a car accident. This helps to protect the occupants of the vehicle from serious injuries.
2. More Fuel-efficient Engines
Another vital contribution of engineering to automotive design is the development of more fuel-efficient engines. Today’s cars are able to get much better gas mileage than their predecessors, thanks to engineers finding new ways to make engines more efficient.
One example of this is the development of turbocharged engines. Turbocharged engines use exhaust gases to spin a turbine which helps to force more air into the engine. This allows the engine to burn more fuel, resulting in more power and less fuel consumption.
Another example of a fuel-efficient engine is the hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) engine. HEV engines use both a gasoline engine and an electric motor to power the car. The electric motor is used for low-speed driving, while the gasoline engine is used for highway driving. This results in better fuel economy overall.
3. Bigger and More Durable Vehicles
Engineers have also contributed to the design of larger and more durable vehicles. Today’s cars are much bigger and heavier than the earlier models. This is because engineers have found ways to make cars more robust and resistant to wear and tear.
One example of this is the use of high-strength steel in car frames. This type of steel is much stronger than the steel that was used in older cars. As a result, it can support a much heavier weight without bending or breaking.
Versatile fifth wheel trailers are also popular among RVers and campers. These trailers are designed to be towed behind a car or truck. They are much larger and more durable than the earlier models, which were often damaged by the rough terrain they were used on.
4. Better Materials
Engineers have also played a role in the development of better materials for use in automotive design. For example, lighter and stronger metals such as aluminum and titanium are now being used in cars thanks to engineering advances.
The use of these lighter metals has helped to improve fuel economy as well as performance. In addition, the use of stronger materials such as carbon fiber has helped to make cars lighter and more resistant to impact damage.
Composite materials are also being used more frequently in automotive design. These materials are made from a combination of two or more different materials. They are often stronger and lighter than the individual materials they are made from.
5. Computer-aided Design
Computer-aided design (CAD) is another area where engineers have significantly impacted automotive design. CAD allows designers to create virtual models of car parts and even entire cars before they are ever built. This allows for faster and more accurate creation of car designs.
CAD has also helped to make cars more customizable. Designers can now create vehicles that can be easily modified to meet the specific needs of individual customers. This has made it possible for people to get exactly the car they want without having to compromise on features or design.
6. Advanced Manufacturing Techniques
Finally, engineers have also helped develop advanced manufacturing techniques that are now commonly used in the automotive industry. These methods include laser cutting and 3D printing, allowing quicker and more precise production of car parts.
The use of these techniques has helped to improve the quality of cars as well as the efficiency of production. They have also made it possible to create more complex car designs that would not be possible with traditional manufacturing methods.
Thanks to the contributions of engineers, the automotive industry has seen several significant improvements in recent years. From improved safety features to lighter and stronger materials, engineers have helped improve cars in various ways. So next time you’re behind the wheel, take a moment to appreciate all the ways that engineering has improved your driving experience!