Over the last decade, the auto industry has significantly changed the way we build cars. There have been major improvements and advancements that were seemingly impossible 10 years ago. It’s equally as interesting as it is important for aspiring auto technicians to take note of these changes. Here are five ways cars have changed in the last decade:
1. Navigation systems were once considered a luxury option. Ten years ago, having a navigation system in your car cost $2,500. Instead, most drivers relied on printable directions from sources such as MapQuest to get from point A to point B. Today, the majority of new cars have a navigation system—usually a touch screen—that comes standard. A report by Berg Insight Research showed that roughly 155 million vehicles on the road today have in-dash navigation systems.
2. Cars are much safer today. Guess how many airbags a car commonly has today. Probably around four, right? Most cars have at least this amount, while some have upwards of 10 airbags built around the vehicle. Ten years ago, the majority of cars had, at most, two front airbags. And now, cars also have accident avoidance features such as collision warning systems, blind spot recognition, and alert sensors. Some cars are even prototyping exterior airbags to prevent collision damage.
3. Fuel Economy didn’t matter 10 years ago The average price of gas 10 years ago was $1.78 per gallon, so having a car with a high mpg rating wasn’t that important. Throughout the last decade, however, we’ve seen gas prices skyrocket to upwards of $4 per gallon. Because of that increase, more and more fuel-efficient models have hit the market. Hybrids, electric cars, and cars with the highest mpg ratings are in demand. Fuel efficiency today is one the top priorities for automotive manufacturers.
4. Your car has a sense of self-awareness. New cars can tell you all about themselves. For example, your car can tell you when a tire’s pressure is low, how much gas you have left in the tank, or if you left your truck open. Some cars can even parallel park themselves. Most cars have Bluetooth options to pair your phone and contact list so you can communicate hands-free while driving. Voice commands allow you to verbally give directions to your car, and your car will respond to them. Ten years ago, it would have been amazing if your car had an auxiliary input so you could play “Confessions” by Usher from your iPod Mini.
5. More cars on the road means more advancements. There are approximately 58,000 more cars on the road today than there were 10 years ago. More and more people are turning to cars over public transportation for their traveling needs. The auto industry keeps pumping out awesome new features and advancements in vehicles to keep consumers’ interest levels high and keep people on the road. This has lead to the installation of safety cameras, headset TVs, steering wheel gearshift paddles and night vision with pedestrian detection capabilities. These advancements that keep people on the road are also the reason why we have higher safety standards than 10 years ago: More cars means more accidents.
It’s important for aspiring automotive technicians to know about these changes because 10 years from now, we may see an even greater difference between cars now and cars then. Staying on top of these trends and changes will allow you to continue to succeed in the automotive technical field.
If you’re interested in learning more about the future of the automotive industry, download our free eBook Facts and Myths About Hybrid Engines.