The invention of the automobile has been one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. To mankind, it has been a definitive icon of independence and personal freedom. But with the birth of the automobile now comes the beginning of the concept vehicle.
The invention started with the Tin Lizzies in the 1900's. Vehicles in the early days were produced to look the same. These vehicles looked like a box on wheels, similar to a horseless carriage. They were started with hand cranks that could turn into a weapon if the vehicle were to backfire. Kerosene used to light the headlamps was foul smelling, and the tires were made of pure rubber, which didn't cushion the bumps. In those days however, it was only the wealthy that could afford to own a vehicle.
At that time, there was not much competition in the design and economical value of the car. As time passed, necessity dictated that these vehicles be updated. Engineers began to look towards the future and were required to enhance the design of the cars, as well as their safety. It is one of the major transportation sources for people as well as manufactured goods. But is that all there is?
It has also been an ever-changing symbol in history. For many years man had tried to widen the resources for a faster, sleeker and cost-effective vehicle. It progressed into cars with smooth lines and large fenders.
Then there was the gas crisis in 1977. At this point in time, the automobile manufacturers were forced to design a car that was more fuel efficient and economical. This also was a time when the Japanese automakers started to import their cars into the United States. With the introduction of the Japanese automakers, the United States would have more competition in the automotive market.
In the past, the prototype vehicle consisted of sport utility vehicles (SUV's), or mini-vans. Today we see these as the norm. Re-introduced into today's auto market were vehicles reminiscent of days gone by such as the PT Cruiser and the Volkswagen Beetle. Originally these vehicles were popular back in the 60's.
Some of today's vehicles have been engineered to use alternate types of fuel such as electricity and solar power. They've added high-tech options like global positioning systems or computerized mapping systems and safety features such as air bags, anti-lock braking systems and daytime running lights.
What were once ideas and inventions for implementation in the future are now realities in many cases. As you can see the automobile has endured many changes throughout history and the future is always looking bright for new ideas in design, technology and growth. What would the original inventors of the automobile think of the car now? And what can we expect next?
Well, most of the manufacturers have concept cars for the future to keep up with the demand of technology, functionality and efficiency. Some of the concept cars are looking at hand-sensitive door entry systems, waterproof interiors, and windshield wipers that are activated by the weather conditions; while other companies may look to make minor changes to the headlight or taillight design. And the manufacturers are always looking to improve spaciousness inside the vehicle. Then there's the concept car that has nothing to do with reality. Their styles are unique but not necessarily safe or practical since the designers are only interested in turning heads. Sometimes a concept car is close to being exactly what the manufacturer intends to build, so feedback from the public merely refines the final result.
One of the best things about the concept car is that it can become a reality. As for the future, car enthusiasts are just going to wait and see what the auto manufacturers are going to bring out next.