The evolution of the auto

Control engineers' input: In the last ten to fifteen years, cars have been changing by leaps and bounds; they may not have evolved much in the way of aesthetics, but what’s contained within them has drastically changed.

05/03/2012



The influence of Control Engineers is something that cannot be overlooked. We have made incredibly complex processes so easy, that they are finding their way into most every product we use. Thanks to engineers, these technologies can be found in our home computers, the cell phones we use daily, even in what we drive to work each day.

Let’s start with the past… okay, not that far back. In the late 1970s, car manufacturers began to include circuit boards to control ignition timing and spark. Due to the age of the technology being installed, these circuit boards would burn out within several years and weren’t really utilized until the mid-1980s, when the technology grew a bit more reliable and actually became a standard to integrated circuit controlled fuel injection systems.

Throughout the late 1980s and 90s, the onboard computer’s tasks seemed to grow yearly: provide on-board diagnostics, control most of the electrical processes in automobiles, tweaking engine performance, and covering braking systems, climate controls, and even the odometer.

In the 2000s, cars have been tasked with handling even more to make life easier for its’ passengers. The addition of navigation, music streaming, and pairing of mobile phones has made more complicated onboard computing necessary. In recent years, major automobile manufactures have added voice control to further assist our everyday tasks. Even receiving diagnostics, which once required an external computer, can now be done so with our cell phones!

Watch the Model T in action

Watch the evolution of the aesthetics of cars

Learn more about how car computers work

Read other Engineering at 30 Frames posts or contribute to the discussion.



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