Vehicle and Autonomous Vehicle Technologies Until the 1970s, vehicle technologies evolved slowly and often in response to mild trends in the vehicle market as opposed to an underlying trend toward technological development. Beginning in the 1970s, however, three factors began a cycle of unparalleled advances in vehicle technology that continues to this day: (1) government regulations on air quality, fuel efficiency, and vehicle-occupant safety; (2) energy shortages and fuel-price increases; and (3) intense competition among vehicle manufacturers (foreign and domestic). The aggregate effect of these factors has resulted in vehicle consumers that demand new technology at highly competitive prices. Vehicle manufacturers have found it necessary to reallocate resources and to restructure manufacturing and inventory control processes to meet this demand. In recent years, consumer demand and competition among vehicle manufacturers has resulted in the widespread implementation of new technologies including supplemental restraint systems, antilock brake systems, traction control systems, electronic stability control, and a host of other applications of new technologies to improve the safety and comfort in highway vehicles. There is little doubt that the combination of consumer demand and intense competition in the vehicle industry will continue to spur vehicle technological innovations.
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