Innovations in industries are the reasons why businesses run for so long. It makes industries relevant to the consumers. And based on how we rely on vehicles for everyday tasks, the innovations within the automotive industry are set on the right track. From the first commercial automobile, the first usage of the assembly line, down to the new technology of self-driving cars, there are no telltale signs that these innovations are slowing down.
The automobile industry is marked by several monumental innovations that shaped it into what it is now, and it will continue to create more over the next years.
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A Short Glimpse into History
Like a machine with all its well-functioning cogs and wheels, innovations in processes and technology help turn the tides of this industry. When compared with others, the start of this industry began late. Automobiles were only possible due to the industrial revolution which happened during the 19th century in Europe. But, ever since it began, the demand never seemed to slow down again.
Many people had the idea of creating an automobile or a self-propelled vehicle. Its deepest roots even reach as far back as Ancient Greece. It took a lot of great minds, ambitions, and minute improvements on previous inventions before the first official automobile came to be. While steam coaches became famous in England, Locomobiles were also gaining traction in the United States. Locomobiles then became the first recognized commercially produced automobiles.
From the invention of the very first automobile, innovations in the production process were happening left and right. The United States took over Britain as the leading producer of automobiles as mass production methods improved. One of the most notable improvements was the introduction of Ford’s moving assembly lines. In retrospect, the localization of tasks is a simple matter but back then, it meant mastery and a drastic cut in the production period.
This innovation was a game-changer for the entire industry. The usual 12-hour production time was cut into a mere hour and a half. The employees assigned in the assembly line also focused on smaller tasks, which they easily master. With the learning curve lessened, mistakes were also curbed over time. It also became easier to reach the increasing demands of production. Both quality and quantity were improved by this simple innovation.
Tailing the world leader, Asian countries such as Japan also climbed ranks and Japanese automotive companies became recognized industry leaders. Japanese automobile companies became leaders in the production of small and fuel-efficient cars. Some industry leaders from Japan are Mitsubishi, Isuzu, and Suzuki. They were also the first ones who used statistical studies in improving vehicle quality. Other Asian countries such as South Korea also followed suit.
Despite being a relatively young industry, the automobile industry is the elephant in the room. It provides a significant chunk of employment opportunities in the private sector in the United States. Developments within the field are, at best, show stoppers and change catalysts. Distances are shortened as stronger machines are developed. Long travels are made more comfortable as manufacturers made comfort the main selling point of their vehicles.
Developments in the automobile industry are still on the roll. The automobile industry is not falling behind from all the changes that come together with the rapid advancement of technology.
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One of the major innovations in the automobile industry nowadays is digital integration. New technology has always been a major driver for this industry seeing as how the industrial revolution started the industry in the first place.
Tesla made a significant impact when it presented its line of self-driving cars. This production is now considered to be the first commercially produced cars that are fully autonomous. These cars are equipped with an autopilot and auto-steering feature, which is embedded in its pre-existing software. However, Tesla heavily reminds that either feature must only be used under supervision.
The existence of autonomous cars is like something straight out of science fiction. But, advanced technology made it happen. Tesla will not be the last manufacturer to produce self-driving cars. It may be the beginning of a new shift in automobile manufacturing.
Taking On a Sustainable Turn
As more and more people are taking strides to be more environmentally-conscious, automobile companies are not falling behind. Various companies are also producing cars that primarily use sustainable energy. These are also commonly known as hybrid cars.
Industry leaders such as Honda, Toyota, and Ford have their take on hybrid cars or fuel-efficient cars. The production of fuel-efficient cars is a significant stride towards cutting down the world’s current carbon footprint. Aside from their energy consumption, hybrid cars do not vary greatly from regular cars. It may take a toll on the car’s maximum speed, but it delivers the goal of cars.
Technology is hardly a cutting edge for manufacturers nowadays. Developing a new method first may put the company some steps ahead, but other companies will follow right after. What companies need to establish now is excellent customer experience to gain a significant advantage over other leaders.
Companies prioritize their consumers. Recent car features now cater more to the consumer’s satisfaction and overall experience more than anything else. Something as simple as wider legroom is directed for customer comfort, and something more complex such as the capability to connect external gadgets, such as phones and tablets to the car is directed towards overall consumer enjoyment.
The drive to create new types of cars are also, at the end of the day, towards customer experience and satisfaction. Manufacturing special types of cars, such as the hybrid ones, are done because there is an existing niche population for it.
The extended efforts of these companies outside their continuous innovations are then translated into product reviews from the clients. Car reviews reflect what the client prioritizes. It may be more about the product or the process of how they got the product. So, to be on the safe side, manufacturers make sure to deliver the best of both worlds.
The automobile industry is comparable to a toddler when compared to other more established industries, but its developments and innovations over the years are comparable to those older ones. Its history already tells that the vehicles we know, see, and use today will become something more decades from now.
With its continued integration of advanced technology in both its manufacturing process and end products, the automobile industry will face several landmark innovations over the next few years.