Many technologies that we see today in cars have been in the works for a decade or more. New technologies often appear on high-end cars and progressively make their way down the market as they get cheaper to build and produce. For example, lane assist and adaptive cruise control made their debut in the early 2000s but really only have caught on with cheaper cars in the last 5-10 years. The earliest production version of Lane Keep Assist or Lane Departure Warning was found in the Nissan Cima, which was only produced in Japan. Although Nissan may not sound fancy or luxurious to people in the United States, which sells the Luxury cars of Nissan under the Infiniti brand, they sold their luxury cars under the Nissan brand in Japan during that era. The Cima is basically the Infiniti Q70, the flagship of the Infiniti/Nissan brand. Lane Departure systems use a series of cameras and computers to detect the road's lanes and command the car to correct itself or warn the driver. Adaptive Cruise Control was first used in 1999 in the Mercedes Benz S-Class and CL-Class. It implemented radar that told the in-car computer the distance between the car and the car in front of it, changing its engine speed and gear changes, and implementing the brakes to keep that same distance up to a set speed.
|1986-1993 Porsche 959|
Those are all relatively newer technologies that have been widespread for a while now. Still, some technology like heads-up displays and variable suspension has actually been around since the early 80s. Porsche's 959 was jam-packed with tech ahead of its time, including variable suspension (different selectable modes that would change ride height based on choice), dynamic all-wheel drive, and a body made out of kevlar. The Pontiac Grand Prix offered a heads-up display in 1988, which displayed speed and engine rpm onto a projected see-through surface. The Chrysler Electronic Voice Alert (EVA) warned the driver if anything was wrong with the car (low oil pressure, low fuel, low voltage, engine overheating, key left in ignition). Otherwise, it would tell the driver that the car was fine if it was. Although this did not require any user-input, it was very much ahead of its time with the common use of voice enhanced products today. Another thing commonly seen today is a digital dashboard, which General Motors started in the 70s in the Cadillac Seville, which displayed a trip computer. Shortly after, the revolutionary Aston Martin Lagonda included an almost full digital dashboard with 3 screens in 1974. These are great examples of how technology takes a long time to develop before its widespread use.