Your car runs on many different computers, called Electronic Control Units (ECUs) all hooked together by a singular Controller Area Network (CAN) hub. This hub coordinates the intake and flow of electronic information within your car ranging from the GPS system to the windows. This hub is important not only for your car but also for the rest of the planet.
1. Pollution Control
The reasons that CANs were introduced in the first place was because of public health and safety attempts to control vehicle emissions. Federal and state agencies pressured automobile makers to keep track of the effectiveness of emission control systems. This meant that there needed to be a system in place to warn drivers when any one part of their car was malfunctioning and affecting its emissions. The best way to coordinate all this was by connecting all the ECUs together in a more efficient manner, and the CAN was born. Without the CAN, you wouldn't know when to fix your engine, or anything else, without regular mechanical check-ups.
2. Before CAN, There Were Millions Of Wires
The computers within your car are all connected to each other through the CAN by way of some strategically placed wires connecting each ECU to the hub. This means that the ECU for your car's brakes are connected to the ECU controlling any rear cameras you have indirectly. Some cars make direct connections to less important car ECUs through Local Interconnect Networks (LINs) but for the most part, it's all done through the CAN. Before the introduction of the CAN in the 80s, the various ECUs in cars would need to be connected to each other or to the dashboard with dedicated wires. This meant more work for the engineers and more wires made up of copper with plastic tubing or other metals.
At one point, the wires making up all the connections between ECUs and the dashboard for each car were literally miles long. With new cars being made all the time, these wires contributed to the environmental impact each new car made. The metal for these wires had to be mined, and the oil for any plastic coverings had to be extracted as well. Multiply this by the millions of cars produced every year before CANs were introduced (but after ECUs were invented) and you have a recipe for environmental disaster.
CAN gateway modules are an important part of your car's ability to function, and without it, the environmental impact of each car would be much higher. You would need more wires within the car and you would risk more pollution by not having a check engine light. For more insight, contact companies that work with automotive CAN gateway modules.