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Ben Glass, Esquire
Before Looking To the Future, Take a Brief Look At the Past
Benjamin W. Glass and Associates
. https://www.benglasslaw.com/

Before Looking To the Future, Take a Brief Look At the Past

There’s a lot of talk nowadays about driverless cars. When will they be introduced, what will they look like, when will they be ubiquitous and, most importantly, how safe will they be? That’s all interesting stuff indeed, but take a moment to consider how far we’ve already come as far as safety innovations for cars starting from their introduction to the world all the way back in 1800s.

It would be hard to guess this, but the first electric headlamps on cars were introduced in 1898 as an option/extra on the Columbia Electric Car. You read that right, electric car in 1898. Google it for yourself and see the glory of a 130-year-old electric car. And Telsa thinks it’s innovating.

The first windshield wipers where introduced only five years later, in 1903. These wipers were hand operated, which would make going to the gym obsolete. We can thank Mary Anderson for this invention who, after watching her trolley car operator drive with the windows open on a frosty winter’s day, decided that a change was due. Unfortunately for Mary, car manufacturers didn’t see this innovation “to be of such commercial value as would warrant our undertaking its sale” they could not have been more wrong. The good news is Mary enjoyed a long life and saw her innovation become the norm on all new cars.

In 1949, “Sierra Sam” was born or, more accurately put, “Sierra Sam” was made our first crash test dummy. Crash test dummies came to supplant live animal studies to determine the effects of car crashes. It must also be noted that prior to crash test dummies and even prior to animal studies, human cadavers were used to learn more about car crashes.

Shortly after the creation of “Sierra Sam” came a wave of major innovations in the 1950s. These new innovations included airbags, crumple zones, ABS, and 3-point seat belts, all of which are now standard in all new cars.

More recently, we’ve seen blind spot warning systems, lane departure warning systems, and pedestrian detection systems all of which will, of course, culminate in the self-driving car (many of which are being tested today in major metropolitan areas).

So, while we should all welcome the next advance in the car manufacturing industry, it’s worth taking a brief moment to appreciate how far we’ve already come.

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