I have been repairing cars since 1973, starting my auto repair business in 1975. Following the evolution of the advances in the automobile has been very exciting.
When I first started, I would chat with some old timers who had been working on cars for years. I remember then talking about those new disc brakes and how they don’t like working on them. Wow, they are easier to work on the old fashion drum brakes.
I remember going to lots of classes on new technology, electronic ignition, Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection and other high tech coming down the pipe line. One of the classes talked about the future that the transmission would “talk” to the engine to tell it, I’m going to shift. The engine would then reduce power by retarding the timing so the shift would be smoother.
Vehicles have come leaps and bounds since that time; the communication between all the different components is increasable. All major composites now know what the others are doing. The control units of the vehicle keep very close tads through digital signals of most composites. The inputs includes, wheel speed, forward looking radar, outside temperature, steering wheel position, g sensors, cam , crank, mass air, knock, coolant, inside air temperature, gas pedal position sensor, seat position, occupancy seat sensor, weight on the people and where they are in the seat, transmission, drive shaft speed and many more.
All of these inputs are analyzed by control units to make the right outputs to control you vehicle. An example would be checking the relationship between all 4 wheel speeds, steering wheel angle and g sensor. The control unit would know the vehicle is in a slide and then make appropriate action through engine and brake outputs to bring the vehicle back into control. This is called Stability Control and is one of many great crash avoidance systems today. Another one is called ABS, anti-lock braking system. This monitors the relationship of wheel speeds and knows when your brakes are starting to lock up and makes adjustments to brakes to stop the lock up. Both of these controls save lives and injuries.
Some newer vehicles watch the line on the road through cameras and will let you know when you are leaving your lane. Forward looking radar will now be able to slam on your brakes so not to rear end the vehicle in front of you.
Over the next few years, vehicles are going to be able to do more and more of the driving for you. The good news about these advances is, this technology is standing guard all the time, no distractions and making the correct choice in potential crash situations, making vehicles safer and safer.