Darstellung technischer Erfindungen im modernen Auto


From Gottlieb Daimler to the self-driving car

The car is still the most popular means of transportation in Germany. How has it developed and where could it go now? Read all about it here.

For most people, driving a car is the epitome of freedom and mobility. Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz literally got the idea rolling in the late 19th century. They are said to have developed the first cars at the same time in 1886 – Benz in his workshop in Mannheim, Daimler in Cannstatt near Stuttgart. Ultimately, however, it was Carl Benz who applied for a patent for his “gas-powered vehicle” on January 29, 1886: the first automobile with a gasoline engine. But the new vehicle had a few drawbacks: it was very uncomfortable, very noisy, and above all unaffordable for most people. Henry Ford changed that: in 1913, the carmaker became the first to produce cars on an assembly line – making them affordable for more of the population. His model, the Ford Model T, revolutionized car production.

The automotive industry in flux

1934 saw the next milestone: automobile designer Ferdinand Porsche was commissioned to build a car that many people could afford. This was the beginning of the VW Beetle, the world’s best-selling car until 2002. In addition to other models, including such classics as the BMW Isetta or the Citroën 2CV, various manufacturers kept marketing all kinds of technical refinements with which they further enhanced the car: in 1974, for example, the company Kiekert invented the central locking system, putting an end to complicated car locking technology. The anti-lock braking system (ABS) was another important step in vehicle technology and is now part of the standard safety equipment in cars. Thanks to a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Bosch, the technology was ready for series production in 1978. In 1994, it became possible for the automotive sector to utilize the fuel cell, a promising technology for alternative energy sources, thanks to an initiative by researchers at Mercedes-Benz.

Still a long way off: self-driving cars

To this day, Germans’ favorite means of transportation is constantly being developed further. Autonomous driving is growing in importance – at least in theory. Self-driving cars are already being tested on the roads in the USA. But many legal, technological, and economic obstacles still need to be overcome before we can drive them one day.

(Header: Jacky – AdobeStock, photo Ford T: Ford T, year of construction 1912 (2017-07-02 Sp) by Lothar Spurzem on Wikimedia licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 DE; photo Cockpit: scharfsinn86 – AdobeStock)

Ford T (1912)
Ford T from Henry Ford
Cockpit eines selbstfahrenden Autos
In the cockpit of a self-driving car