The Innovations That Made the Modern Car

The modern car is completely different from what it used to be, due to the technological advancement in the automotive industry over the decades. The car has come a long way since its first invention to what it is today. According to LedLightStreet, numerous car innovations have made it easier to own and drive a car and enjoy the many benefits that come with it.

From rickety, steam-powered carriages, the automotive industry has advanced to making cars that are computerized, make use of electricity, and can drive themselves, among other features.

Below are some of the innovations that made cars what they are today:

1. Electrics

Electrics in cars today might seem like the usual thing but it took quite a journey to have that in modern cars. Cars were initially started by hand until enough momentum was generated for the engine to keep running throughout the journey. This was quite difficult, as you have to do that every time you stop the engine from running.

The first electric car was the Lancia Theta that was invented in 1913, which had electrical headlights and engine starter. Car electrics have since improved and we now have electronic fuel injection, HID and LED Headlights

2. Hand and Anti-Lock Brakes

Brakes were necessary to make a moving car stop and it has evolved over the years to ensure a smooth and swift way cars can stop moving when they need to. The first car that was created was also the first to have brakes, which was the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen. Since then, cars have evolved, so also the brakes. We moved from hand brakes to drum brakes, disc brakes, power assist brakes, and anti-lock brakes.

Anti-lock brakes use computers to help prevent the wheels from locking up while braking, which helps maintain tractive contact with the road surface, whether it is dry or slippery.

3. Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers were never a thing for the longest time and drivers often had to stick out their heads from the car to see where they were headed if the weather got bad. It wasn’t until 1902 when Mary Anderson traveled and figured something had to be done to make people see clearly through the windshields. She decided to work on it and a year later, she was granted her first patent for a window cleaning device for electric cars. She is forever remembered for inventing the first operational windshield wiper, which made driving safer.

4. GPS Navigation

As technology improved, we had easy access to GPS navigation on tech devices, including computers and smartphones. However, Mazda introduced the first-ever GPS navigation system for the automotive industry in 1990, which was linked to satellites on a built-in touchscreen. It has since evolved and has made driving easier for everyone. It gets even better with smartphone integration, as more people can navigate the roads with a simple pinch and zoom on their screens.

5. Adaptive Cruise Control

The adaptive cruise control works to adjust the vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance of obstacles ahead. It is paired with a forward collision warning that works without any driver’s input, linked to the car’s brakes, and designed to panic stop in an emergency. It has gotten smarter and more convenient since its debut in 1992 and is a crucial part of any car, especially self-driving cars that are gradually becoming more rampant.

6. Better Transmissions

Your car needs a working transmission to move without trudging along in first gear and for the longest time, people had to manage slow and less effective transmissions. This has improved over the years and there are now better transmissions, whether manual or automatic. Both transmissions have their pros and cons and you need to familiarize yourself with the benefits they offer in order to make the best choice for your car. However, there has been an increase in automatic transmissions in cars over the last decade, as it is easier to use, less manually restrictive, better for hilly areas, with a reduced risk of stalling.

7. Active Aerodynamics

Sports cars are more common today than ever, and one of the things that make them perfect for sports is the aerodynamics. However, the aerodynamics are now being incorporated into some modern cars for more effectiveness and speed on the road. These active aerodynamics keep the cars firm to the ground while in motion, using self-adjusting front and rear spoilers, open and shut vents, and in-motion height adjustments.

8. Key Fobs

Key fobs for cars have been in existence since 1993 and has made the modern car better, as its function improved over the years. It can be used to unlock doors, set off the horn and lights from afar, adjust seats and mirrors, and more. Not only has it made the experience of the modern car better, but it has also helped improve the safety of car owners.

9. Air Bags

Airbags have been an important safety tool and still one of the most innovative safety breakthroughs since it was first introduced in the 1980s. What started as a safety measure for just the driver became an important safety tool for the front passenger too and a study shows that airbags can reduce even 50% of passenger injuries in a car accident.

10. Seat Belts

Seat belts have been proven over time to be the greatest safety innovation in the automotive industry and a medical study found that they are crucial in preventing deaths due to road traffic crashes. They can also reduce the severity of the injury a person can get from a car accident, which increases their chance of survival.


The automotive industry has come a long way since its first invention and there’s so much more to expect as technology advances and new innovations are created. These ten innovations have, in no doubt, transformed the history of cars and made modern cars what they are today. With self-driving cars on the rise and more trends currently being explored, the future of cars is worth looking forward to.