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With technology becoming an ingrained part of our daily lives, the automotive industry keeps pace with the development of technology constantly. In the past few years, automakers have brought us new technologies that improved the whole human transportation significantly. 

But not every innovation that automakers come up have to succeed. In fact, some of the innovations were downright unnecessary, some were annoying, and some simply didn't work. And sometimes even the good ideas fail to take-off.

The history of the automotive technology had its own ups and downs. Here are 5 car technologies that never made it:


1. The First Talking Car (Picture Source: velocityjournal)

In today's cars, we are all pretty used to satellite navigation giving us directions and telling us where to go, but how would you feel if your car started telling you other things, like the lights were on, your seatbelt wasn't done up, or even tell you when to shift your gear?

The first talking car came out in 1981. Datsun was the first automaker to try the technology with the 810 Maxima. At first, everyone was fascinated with the technology, but it didn't take long until people felt that the talking car is rather annoying.

"I remember shopping for a vehicle with my dad in the early ’80s when we checked out the Maxima. The first time you hear the car talk, it's a fascinating piece of technology, but by the second time, it's already annoying. We bought a Toyota," says Popular Mechanics senior tech editor, Glenn Derene. 

The pre-recorded messages of the earliest system couldn't be disabled. An "off" switch was added later on, but by that time everyone had pretty much decided that the talking cars were not going to work.


2. Night Vision (Picture Source: autoevolution)

Night vision is one those ideas that are really clever and useful. A number of manufacturers tried adding this technology to their cars for almost two decades now, but it never actually worked.

The reason this technology never worked in cars is because it requires you to look away from the windscreen to a screen on the dash, which completely renders it useless as a safety feature.

Toyota, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi have all toyed around with the idea, but night vision remains a technology that is yet to make it. 

3. Solar Panel Sunroof (Picture Source:

Another automotive technology that is actually smart and sensible is the solar panel sunroof. The solar panels embedded in the sunroof would be used to power the ventilation fans keep the interior of the car cooler during hot temperatures. 

A number of manufacturers, including Toyota, Mazda, Volkswagen and Audi have tried this, but it didn't quite work as intended. While the technology was useful in moderate temperatures, it didn't do much in hot weather. The solar panel sunroof had a negligible effect on the temperature of the interior of the car, and the cooling power was not enough. 

4. Automatic Seat Belt (Picture Source: wikiwand)

The automatic seat belt was an American innovation that consisted of affixing the seat belt to the door frame so the belt would be fastened automatically when you shut the door.

There were other systems that included the lap belts as well, where passengers have to slide under the belts to get in. None of these made it however. 

People felt like the innovation wasn't necessary at all, not to mention how ugly it was to have the seat belt attached to the door frame. The automatic seat belt wasn't practical for the most part anyway. Most of the systems required the driver to manually fasten the lap belt, therefore completely missing the point of the technology.

5. Pedestrian Catcher (Picture Source: theoldmotor)

Pedestrian catcher, safety scoop, car catcher, and rescue device are some of the names that were given to this 1930's invention. It was a safety invention designed to save lives. It worked by either scooping the pedestrian up or brushing them away to safety.

Although the idea behind the pedestrian catcher invention was a good one, the practicality of it just wasn't there. Thankfully, we now have autonomous braking along with many other features for pedestrians safety.


Source: Petrolhead Arabia

Posted by Maye Rosales on 30th March 2017