Automobiles are four-wheeled vehicles designed primarily for passenger transportation, often powered by an internal combustion engine using a volatile fuel. They are a complex technical system with many subsystems, each designed to satisfy specific design functions. An automobile has a body, chassis, powertrain, and controls that have evolved from breakthroughs in existing technology or from new technologies such as electronic computers, high-strength plastics, and advanced alloys of steel and nonferrous metals. Today’s cars are highly complex and expensive, but they continue to play a vital role in society.
The automobile has profoundly altered the world’s economies, and its influence is felt in almost every aspect of modern life. It has changed the way cities are built, shaped patterns of rural and urban living, and reshaped the economies of towns and communities. It has reshaped the delivery of goods and services, making it possible to transport merchandise over long distances. It has also given people a freedom of movement not available before, and encouraged sprawl (i.e., low-density suburban development that degrades landscapes and creates traffic congestion).
There is a whole world of etymology hidden within the familiar names of automobiles. Some of these evoke speed or power, while others are more esoteric in nature. The term “automobile” itself is derived from Latin, meaning “movable self.” It can be compared to the more common term “car,” which is derived from the French word for cart, a wheeled vehicle drawn by horses.
Whether used for work, recreation, or as the primary means of family transportation, the automobile has become the dominant mode of transport in most industrialized countries. It is a major consumer of energy, and it has fueled the expansion of other industries, including oil and gas production and service facilities. It has revolutionized the world’s culture, bringing in an era of consumerism and changing the structure of entire societies.
It saves you time on your commute, shopping trips, and visits with friends and relatives. Having a car gives you more flexibility to do the things you want to do, whenever you want to do them. It also allows you to move larger items that may be difficult or impossible to transport on public transportation. It provides a level of privacy and control not available with public transportation, including the ability to adjust the temperature, music, and seating.
The automobile is one of the most important inventions in history. Invented in the late nineteenth century, it was a major force in American society, with an enormous impact on business and industry as well as everyday life. In the United States, its great demand ensured the success of mass production techniques, and it gave rise to big automobile companies like Ford, GM, and Chrysler. In addition, it led to a number of new ancillary industries, such as rubber and petroleum. The industry was also a key driver of the development of new types of roads and other infrastructure. In addition, it created a vast network of jobs for laborers and factory workers as well as sales and service personnel.