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The 10 Most Important Inventions in Automotive History
Here’s a look at the innovations that formed the foundation of driving as we know it today.
July 30, 2018
During its 130-year history, the automobile has been an amazing source of inspiration. It has spurred countless engineers and dreamers to conjure up better ideas for virtually every on-board component, from engines and transmissions to brakes, doors, windows, tires, radios, and virtually everything else.Picking the most important of those is, well…almost impossible. While some automotive inspirations may have changed your life, others may have saved it. And while some may have improved your behind-the-wheel experience, others may have made that experience possible in the first place.Here, we’ve selected 10 automotive innovations as history’s most important. A few with historical heft made the cut, while some others with lifesaving potential didn’t. We freely admit that these conclusions are up for debate, so we invite you to click through the following pages and let us know what we’ve missed, and which inventions you might have included.
Senior technical editor Chuck Murray has been writing about technology for 34 years. He joined Design News in 1987, and has covered electronics, automation, fluid power, and auto.
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About the Author(s)
Charles Murray is a former Design News editor and author of the book, Long Hard Road: The Lithium-Ion Battery and the Electric Car, published by Purdue University Press. He previously served as a DN editor from 1987 to 2000, then returned to the magazine as a senior editor in 2005. A former editor with Semiconductor International and later with EE Times, he has followed the auto industry’s adoption of electric vehicle technology since 1988 and has written extensively about embedded processing and medical electronics. He was a winner of the Jesse H. Neal Award for his story, “The Making of a Medical Miracle,” about implantable defibrillators. He is also the author of the book, The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards Behind the Supercomputer, published by John Wiley & Sons in 1997. Murray’s electronics coverage has frequently appeared in the Chicago Tribune and in Popular Science. He holds a BS in engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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