How the quest for improved safety led to the development of automatic braking – all the way back in the 1950s…
In 1935, according to official registration figures, there were almost 26.5 million vehicles on American roads. Just fifteen years later, buoyed by post-World War II economic expansion, that figure had swollen to in excess of 49 million – an 85 per cent hike.
The vast increases in the number of cars, buses and trucks didn’t show any signs of abating, either. By 1955, nearly another 14 million vehicles had been registered.
Somewhat predictably, the number of accidents occurring rose at an alarming rate. The demand and need for improvements in safety consequently led to many related developments during the 1950s, such as padded dashboards, collapsible steering columns, seat belts and shock-absorbing bumpers. Many of these would ultimately become standard-fit features and save countless lives.