If nothing else, technology is an incredible innovator. It pushes humanity forward into new realms of its existence, and asks new questions that beckon answers.

Within the automotive industry, to say that technology has had a lasting, profound, and complex relationship with aspects of manufacturing, safety, and the environment would be more than obvious – without new and evolving tech, our vehicles would be stuck in the past.

Let’s explore how automotive technology has changed the way we look and interact with our vehicles.


Automobiles got their proverbial start when technology was embraced fully. Henry Ford automated the manufacturing process of automobile construction in December of 1913, providing mass automobile production to the world – while he didn’t invent the concept for the assembly line, he certainly supported and sponsored it. Before Ford, a car took over 12 hours to assemble – with the assembly line, it took 2.5 hours.

Fast forward and Ford’s assembly line is still the way to go for the vast majority of automobile manufacturers – but with a twist. Automation is quickly becoming the next big leap forward in vehicle construction. Welding robots make short and precise work of large, time-consuming processes, and the advent of machinery to lift and transport engine components, body panels and other integral parts of the cars themselves make things even more efficient.

And, we can’t neglect to mention the design process and how technology free flows in making new processes. Without new design/testing technology, advancements of the shapes, strengths of chassis’, efficiency of aerodynamics and inquiries into fuel economy could not be investigated as thoroughly and as effectively. Without technology, cars would still be primitive, motorized boxes on top of steel frames.


With the invention of the assembly line came a reduction in price for an automobile. Without the need for 12 hours of laborious work, the potential output of the number of cars able to be sold skyrocketed. This helped to make vehicles more readily available to the middle class.

Vehicle prices have also been influenced and changed by advancing technology due to research and reductions in materials used, their strength, and their longevity/durability. Simply put, technology has enabled cars to last longer, and in doing so, has influenced the residual value and resale potential of newer vehicles. Although inflation has caused the average price of cars to remain relatively stable over the last decade or two, the cost of an average new car in 2016 has been the lowest it’s been since 1983, as per the findings of a US Bureau of Economic Analysis study.


Changing technologies have had perhaps the largest impact on the automotive sector in the arena of safety. Science and technology has allowed automobile manufacturers to not only hypothesize and test new safety features, by develop solutions to ongoing problems through reverse engineering with the help of technological breakthroughs to computers, artificial intelligence, and software that new vehicles depend on.

The advent of rear-park assist to alert us about pedestrians and obstacles, the inclusion of anti-lock braking systems to aid in braking power, air-bags for unfortunate accidents, traction control for adverse weather conditions, etc – all references to the ways in which technology has changed the auto sector.

Take for example the emergence of the automated driver-less vehicle. By removing the driver from the equation, technologies suggest that human error can be removed from an equation of humans being on the road. The technology has the potential to revolutionize the auto industry yet again, by making human beings perpetual passengers in all vehicles.

Eco-Friendly Economics

The impact of fuel prices on the automotive sector has prompted questions about new technology and improved environmental stewardship since the 1980’s. In years past, American cars were at a distinct disadvantage when compared to their Japanese and European counterparts, because they’ve been built and conceived in societies with low gas prices. Fuel economy has steadily been increasing over the last 15 years, but high quality vehicles that have always benefited from advanced fuel efficiency technology, like the Chevrolet Volt, have always sold better in all regions of the world.

These days, fuel economy is one of the – if not the top – reason for buying a new car, or shopping around when researching cars. Cheap energy has caused advancing technologies to consider new ways over the last two or three decades, by experimenting with the societal implications of advanced fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, and hope for the state of the environment. A comprehensive study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine states that “because gasoline prices are higher overseas, it could be easier for Japanese and European companies to introduce costly fuel-saving technologies more quickly throughout the world than for American companies.” This competitive marketplace ensures that new technology not only is implemented, but evolves and becomes more efficient.