Automobiles are motor vehicles that run on roads or other types of surface transportation. They are very large machines that have many systems that work together to power the car, control it and make it comfortable for people to ride in. These systems include the body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, electric systems and other components. The branches of engineering that deal with these machines are called automobile engineering.
The automobile revolutionized human civilization in the twentieth century and continues to have a huge impact on technology and society. Modern life would be unthinkable and highly inconvenient without cars.
Modern cars are powered by internal combustion engines that burn gasoline or diesel fuel. They have a wide variety of body styles and seating capacities from four to seven seats. They also have various features that can increase passenger safety or optimize high-speed handling and stability. For example, some systems automatically brake the vehicle when it detects that a crash is imminent.
The modern automobile was first invented in Germany and France in the late 1800s, but it took decades before the technology became affordable to middle-class families. Karl Benz is credited with developing the first gas-powered automobile in 1885, and Henry Ford introduced mass production techniques that brought costs down until his Model T was within reach for millions of Americans.
In the future, there is a growing interest in designing an “autonomous” car, one that can greatly aid or replace the driver. The goal is to reduce accidents and fatalities on the roads and in other ways.