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Top five inventions that made driving easier

These days your car can pretty much drive itself (we’re being a touch facetious of course),  but which of these inventions could you really live without?

1. Power steering

Power steering essentially makes the job of steering a lot easier for the driver. Most cars rely on a hydraulic system -  it comes as standard in almost every modern automobile - which basically multiplies the force applied to the steering wheel and inputs to the vehicles wheels. You can thank the Chrysler Corporation for introducing the first commercially available power steering system in 1951. Where would we be without it? Frantically turning our steering wheels, we suspect!

2. Automatic gearbox

The manual gearbox is in decline and if you look to the other side of the pond, the popularity of ‘stick and shift’ gears is tanking; just 5% of cars over there come with a manual gearbox. The first auto gearbox was developed in 1904. By 1934 automatic gearboxes that were easier to use than their manual counterparts were in production. But despite being around for a long time, and their popularity in the US, we’re still pretty adamant manual is the best over here! Surely it won’t be long until we given into the ease that is an automatic gearbox though?

3. Cruise control

Cruise control is a system which auto controls the speed of your car, by taking over the throttle of the vehicle to uphold a speed set by the driver. Cruise control as we know it was invented back in 1948 by an inventor called Ralph Teetor. Frustrated by riding with his lawyers erratic driving which would slow and speed as and when he spoke, he devised a system for speed maintenance AKA cruise control! Today it is best saved for long drives across straight, quiet roads hence its popularity in the US and Australia.

4. Satellite Navigation

The saviour of many a marriage up and the down the UK, Sat-Navs use GPS to find their location and guide the user using its database of roads. Finally, the map has been relegated to the boot only to be dug out in the direst event of a GPS failure. The technology was around before auto manufacturers got their hands on it; but the issues of which car manufacturer developed the first commercially available version is hotly contested. We’re staying well out of it! Suffice to say, we love our Sat-Nav and definitely couldn’t do without.

5. Automatic parking

Automatic parking does what it says on the tin; moves your car into a parking spot. However, different levels of ‘help’ are available. Some simply guide you and notify you when to turn, reverse, brake etc. Others rather take things into their own hands and simply perform the manoeuvre for you. We’re all for a bit of looking out, but the latter seems a bit over the top, essentially rendering the driver superfluous! Plus is there a better thrill out there than performing a perfect parallel parking on your first attempt? Exactly. 


published: 10/07/2015 10:20:15

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