The first car Nancy and I owned was a 1968 Olds Cutlass Convertible. Forty years ago. The Industrial Revolution was pretty much in full bloom. They had been designing and building cars for about twenty years on the assembly line. There were a whole bunch of car makers.
And yet, cars haven’t improved much over the past forty years. Design is pretty much the same as is engineering. There has been no breakthrough design or technology that has changed how we get from A to B.
Some of the lack of innovation is pretty petty, but generally, a car in 1968 is the same as a car in 2008.
- They still take gasoline to run.
- You have to have a key to start it.
- They require lubricants and fluids to operate: some of those are petroleum based.
- They still have tires made of rubber that wear out.
- The internal combustion engine has had no significant design improvements.
- Choice of paint colors has declined markedly.
- The doors open the same way they always have.
- A lot of metal is used to construct a car.
- Batteries are still used to store starting power.
- Engines still belch junk into the air.
- Windshield defrosting, passenger heating and air conditioning are basically unchanged.
- Pushing pedals is part of driving.
- They don’t last longer.
- Filters have to be changed.
- Windshield wipers? still?
UPDATE: You can now call your car and start, unlock, open trunk, open windows… best innovation from CES 2008.
UPDATE: Now that the big auto shows are over, I’m finally starting to read of some innovations –THAT ARE STILL ON THE DRAWING BOARD.
UPDATE: After market vehicle monitor! From your computer or phone, you can know what is going on with your car. Real time. This will be the new undercoating upcharge from your local car dealer. It should be standard equipment on all cars.
UPDATE: Cars may soon be equipped with satellite devices to keep us from crashing into each other. As soon as the gummit mandates it.