What Are Automobiles?


Automobiles are a group of motorized passenger vehicles that run on roads, have four wheels, and typically carry one to eight people. They are the primary mode of transportation for most Americans, and they enable travel over long distances and across town with greater flexibility than is possible with public transit. The development of automobiles has shaped society in many ways. It brought more jobs to rural areas and helped cities grow, and it gave people more freedom of movement than had previously been possible. It also shifted social roles, as more men went off to work and women stayed home.

The origins of the modern automobile are a bit unclear, but most credit Karl Benz, an engineer from Germany, with creating the first true automobile in 1885. He was followed by others, including Henry Ford, whose production line made cars more affordable to the general population.

In addition to the chassis and the engine, there are several other essential parts that make up an automobile. Most importantly, it needs an electrical system to provide the force necessary to get it moving. Then there are the transmission and other systems to control its speed, and a battery that supplies energy for the engine to burn fuel and power the wheels.

Small cars are some of the most economical and convenient vehicles on the road today. Many of them have advanced safety and infotainment features that were unheard of in their segment a decade ago. These include autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian detection, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and advanced active safety systems.