Automobiles are wheeled vehicles that are propelled by a motor, which is usually an internal combustion engine using volatile fuels such as gasoline, diesel, or propane gas. In modern automobiles, the engine is often combined with a drivetrain that uses gears to control the vehicle’s speed and torque.
Automobile engineering is a field of engineering that involves the design, manufacturing, and maintenance of automobiles. It is a rapidly growing industry that offers lucrative employment opportunities.
The modern automobile is a complex technical system that employs thousands of subsystems with specific design functions. Many of these subsystems have evolved from breakthroughs in existing technology or from new technologies such as electronic computers, high-strength plastics, and new alloys of steel and nonferrous metals.
Some of the most important subsystems are the body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, and control systems. These are connected together in a way that provides stability, reliability, and safety.
Automotive engineers must also consider a variety of environmental concerns, including air pollution and emissions. They must also be aware of the latest laws and regulations regarding the transport of passengers, and they must keep abreast of changes in technology.
During the early twentieth century, automobiles became a major part of everyday life, as they helped people to travel more efficiently and safely. They made it possible for women to leave their traditional domestic roles and go out into the world, and men to leave their families and fight in wars.
In the United States, automobiles played a major role in the development of the American economy. They were a major contributor to the growth of industrialization and the development of mass production techniques.
The American automobile industry was led by Henry Ford and grew quickly in the 20th century. Ford’s innovation, such as the introduction of assembly lines in his factories and the use of mass production methods to cut costs, made it possible for a large number of people to afford their first car.
It is estimated that there are 590 million passenger cars in the world, and 140 million in the U.S. The most common types of automobiles are sedans, SUVs, and trucks.
There are a wide range of automotive designs, from low-end passenger models to high-performance sports cars and racing vehicles. Some of these have a retractable roof (a convertible), a wide variety of braking systems, and different propulsion systems.
The earliest automobiles were powered by steam engines. Although they could travel at high speeds, they had limited range. They were also very heavy and expensive, making them difficult to transport and operate.
During the 1880s, Gottlieb Daimler began to make automobiles with four-stroke engines that he designed. He and his assistant, Wilhelm Maybach, built about thirty vehicles between 1886 and 1895.
After Daimler, a German engineer named Karl Benz developed his own internal combustion engine. He patented his first design in 1878. Several other inventions by Benz made it feasible to build motor cars that were cheap and practical for consumers.