17 car safety 50 years of improvements
car safety 50 years of improvements
By Vukasin Herbez on 2018-04-18 01:16:21
For a long period of time, car manufacturers didn’t bother with safety issues. Old cars were notorious for being death traps which could injure occupants even in smallest crashes. Then, in the ‘60s, rising number of cars on the roads all over the world caused a lot of crashes and an alarming number of fatalities which influenced governments, manufacturers and different consumer groups to really pay attention. During this decade, relentless quest for passenger safety has begun and laid foundation for safer cars we all drive today. This is why we will present to you several most important patents in last 50 years that helped save millions of lives and made everyday driving much safer.
Three-point seat belt
The most common safety feature in today‘s cars, three-point seat belt was invented by Volvo‘s engineers in 1959 but for some time it wasn’t accepted by other companies. In the late ‘60s, under pressure from public safety organizations, governments declared three pointed safety belts mandatory in all production cars. However, even then, wearing of seat belts was optional and Canada‘s Ontario province made history in 1976 with the law that declared wearing seat belts mandatory in all vehicles. Over the following decades similar laws became reality in the entire world and three pointed seat belts were further developed into crucial passive safety device.
Airbags were invented by General Motors and offered in early ‘70s as an option on Cadillac and Buick models. Back then the system was called ‘Air Cushion Restraint System’ and it wasn‘t popular so GM discontinued the option in 1977. However, Mercedes-Benz installed airbags in its range-topping W126 S Class model in the early ‘80s starting a revolution amongst the manufacturers. In just a few years’ time, all major companies offered this capable system, first as an option and then as a standard feature on all of its cars. From the late ‘90s, airbags, at least driver‘s are mandatory for all new models produced. Over the years, this system saved numerous lives and prevented injuries despite criticism of hurting the driver‘s hands when deployed. Today‘s car have multiple airbags in the interior which protect passengers from side impacts, back impact, knee injuries and so on.
ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)
The ABS is another crucial safety feature that was created in the ‘60s and became optional in the ‘80s, and today there is no modern car without it. If you don‘t know what ABS is, it is an electronic system which protects your car from locking the brakes under heavy braking. This system shortens the stopping distance and provides you with better control of your vehicle under heavy braking. The ABS is very useful in difficult driving conditions such as heavy rain, snow or ice because if you locked your brakes, your stopping distance would be much longer and crashing would be inevitable. The German company Robert Bosch GmbH, one of the first companies to produce ABS system which were installed in Mercedes models, announced that according to its calculations, from 1978 until today, ABS systems installed in various vehicles around the world saved over a million lives!
Innovative construction techniques
In the last 50 years, the construction techniques as well as materials in car construction changed a lot. Back then, primitive cars with rugged ladder-type chassis were still on sale and nobody knew what honey comb structure or crumple zones are. Over the years, manufacturers developed new and innovative ways of constructing cars and making them more rigid, stiffer and capable of enduring more damage without damaging the interior or injuring occupants. During the ‘80s, new models were designed and produced with crumple zones which would take most force on impact, preventing damage of the cabin. With modern materials which are designed to shatter and high strength steel used in construction, cars can take enormous damage and look totally destroyed but still keep the cabin intact and passengers unhurt. Also, modern cars benefit from computer models which simulate all kinds of damages, crashes or hits to the car’s body. These way manufacturers can design the construction to be safe and protective in any circumstances. Also, independent safety testing is a big deal and no car will be allowed to be offered for sale if it fails the test.
Pre-Collision Systems (PCS)
The PCS are the latest in car safety technology and still an option on upscale and expensive models but slowly becoming available to cheaper, everyday cars. Those pre-collision system are considered to be the biggest revolution in car safety since airbags or ABS since they combine numerous electronic systems, front (and rear) mounted radars for monitoring the road and reacting faster and better than the drivers themselves. The PCS system is capable of seeing further and through fog, heavy rain or show and even recognises objects that are far from the car in the dark. Also, PCS systems monitor distance between cars, provide active cruise control as well as lane assist features which will keep the car in the lanes or alarm the driver to pay attention to the direction the car is going. Latest PCS systems also recognises traffic signs and can drive in the speed limit or inform driver of traffic jams or dangerous spots down the road.
The critics of PCS systems say that this complicated but effective and highly active safety systems are just one step from autonomous driving cars since PCS can do a lot without driver‘s knowledge or approval. However, we can ensure you that PCS is a fantastic improvement in driving safety which will help avoid and detect dangerous situations far earlier which will help save lives and prevent injuries and damages.
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