A modern automobile, also called motor car or simply a car, is a four-wheeled vehicle used for transportation of passengers and usually propelled by an internal combustion engine using a volatile fuel. Modern cars are highly complex technical systems. They have thousands of component parts derived from breakthroughs in existing technology and from new technologies like electronic computers, high-strength plastics, and advanced alloys of steel and nonferrous metals. The branches of engineering that deal with the manufacture and technology of these vehicles are known as automobile engineering.
The first automobiles were invented in the nineteenth century. Inventors like Karl Benz developed a prototype with a four-stroke internal combustion gasoline engine in 1886. These early cars looked like carriages and could travel only at a slow pace.
American companies seized the opportunity to mass produce automobiles during the 1920s. They produced more than a million units a year, which were sold at much lower prices than European models. Cheap raw materials and a long tradition of manufacturing pushed down production costs, while the vastness of the country encouraged sales over a broad geographic area. The automobile became the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented society, and it was a key driver of social change in twentieth century America.
After the world war, automobiles became a symbol of modern living and the new middle class in the United States. They were used by families to go on picnics, vacations, and to visit friends. Several major technological advances were made in the automobile industry during this period: the self-starter, the closed all-steel body, the hydraulic brakes, and syncromesh transmission. But after the 1930s, the industry reached a point of market saturation that coincided with a decline in product and production innovation.
Automobiles have many other benefits in addition to convenience. They save time and money, and they provide self-reliance and independence. They help us get to our destination faster, and they can also be used for emergency situations. For example, if you are running late for an appointment and you don’t catch the bus on time, you can take a taxi or rent a car to reach your destination.
Similarly, if a family member or friend gets sick, it is easier to visit them with a car. In addition, having a vehicle allows you to be free and spontaneous in your personal life. You can spend more time with your family and have fun without worrying about whether the public transport will come on time. You can also enjoy a more comfortable life compared to other forms of transportation such as the train, which may have many stops and delays.