Automobiles are the vehicles that we use for transporting ourselves and goods. They have four to eight wheels and are powered by an engine. The branch of engineering that deals with the manufacture and technology of automobiles is called automotive engineering. Automobiles play a major role in our life and it is difficult to imagine the luxuries of the modern world without them. The automobiles also provide a means of communication between people and between countries.
The History of Automobiles
The invention of the automobile was a revolutionary development in human society. It has allowed people to travel long distances quickly and conveniently. It has revolutionized the way we live our lives and the way the economy operates. The automobile has become the dominant mode of transportation in the United States and many other parts of the world. Having an automobile allows people to go where they want, when they want. It also gives them freedom from being stuck in crowded buses full of strangers.
Exactly who invented the automobile is a matter of debate. Some historians credit Karl Benz of Germany with creating the first true automobile in 1885. Other engineers and inventors have made improvements on the original design, including Gottlieb Daimler, Nicolaus Otto, and Emile Levassor of France. Eventually, Henry Ford of the United States improved manufacturing methods, which made cars affordable to middle-class Americans.
Before the automobile came along, transportation was done mostly by horse. But in the early 1900s, cars started to appear on the road. They were powered by steam, electricity, or gasoline. Steam-powered cars could travel at high speeds, but they had limited range and were inconvenient to start. Electric cars, which were powered by batteries, had 38 percent of the market in the United States in 1900. They could travel farther on a charge, but they were slower than gasoline-powered cars.
By the 1920s, the automobile had overtaken passenger rail as a primary mode of transportation in the United States. It was the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented society and the largest customer for steel, petroleum, and other industrial products. It revolutionized the way we work and play, but it can also be a dangerous form of transportation if you are not careful. Automobiles are a major cause of traffic congestion and pollution, which can harm people’s health. Some cities have public transportation, such as buses and trains, which can get people where they need to go faster and cheaper than automobiles.
But the era of the annually restyled, gas-guzzling American road cruiser ended with the imposition of federal standards for safety, fuel efficiency, and emissions; with concerns about draining world oil supplies; and with competition from foreign car manufacturers with functionally designed, well-built cars. Today, the most common automobiles are small and fuel-efficient, which reduces environmental problems while still providing people with the convenience of car ownership.