Car Technology Through the Years

Aug 31, 2022 | The Hub | 0 comments

While cars are a common sight nowadays, several key technological developments have occurred, and new car gadgets introduced, since the first car was invented in 1886. 

So, who invented the first car?

Well, it was Karl Benz who later founded the Mercedes Benz Group with Gottlieb Daimler in 1926. 

The first car had an internal combustion engine and only three wheels, but it was more successful than car inventions powered by steam. 

But didn’t Ford create the first car? 

While Karl Benz created the first car, Ford had the second major achievement of creating the mass-produced version in 1908. 

The iconic Model T was produced on an assembly line and much cheaper than the cars that came before it, meaning that it was more affordable for the general population. 

What about car keys? 

Keyless start is becoming more popular in new cars, but there is still a place for car keys. In 1949, Chrysler created car keys to simplify starting both the electric starter and ignition at the same time. 

It might surprise you that the electric ignition starter was invented in 1911 to replace hand cranks, as the process of hand cranking to start the ignition was dangerous and could potentially injure the driver. 

When were key car features invented?

The car radio

It’s unlikely that you’ll have been in a car without a car radio, but it might be surprising to learn that it has been around since 1930! 

Power steering

Power steering is what helps improve the driver’s experience as it reduces the effort needed to turn the steering wheel. 

Chrysler introduced power steering into one of their Cadillacs in 1951, and it’s a feature that has stood the test of time as it’s something that comes with many cars as standard. 


1959 was the year that seatbelts were finally implemented into cars, seventy-three years after the first car was invented!

It was Nils Bohlin, a safety engineer for Volvo, who invented the three-pin seatbelt, then Volvo gave the patent to other car manufacturers for free as it was essential to saving lives. 

Anti-lock braking system (ABS)

You will likely have seen the ABS warning light on your car’s dashboard. A useful warning light lets drivers know that the ABS is malfunctioning. 

An anti-lock braking system stops wheels from locking up during sudden braking and was commonly used on trains and aircraft before being adapted for cars in 1971.


Another safety feature that didn’t show up in mass-produced cars until 1988.. Originally airbags were intended just for drivers, but now they can be put all around the car to protect all passengers. 

On-board diagnostics 

Cars nowadays have an onboard computer that monitors and reports when a certain component needs attention. This wasn’t essential until 1994 when the 16-pin connector was necessary for all car manufacturers as it allowed them to see the key car information to identify repairs. 

Onboard diagnostic connections weren’t compulsory for cars in America until 1996 and 2001 for Europe. 

Car technology really has come a long way in the past one-hundred and thirty-six years, and car manufacturers are continuing to innovate and redesign what goes into our cars.