Automobiles are motor vehicles which move people and cargo from one place to another. They are the most common type of transport in modern society. However, they are complex technical systems which use thousands of parts to perform their function. They were originally designed to transport goods and people but they now carry passengers as well.
The origins of automobiles date back to the 19th century. They were first used as bicycle-like contraptions. Pedal cycles were often equipped with small spark ignition engines. After these bikes were invented, manufacturers converted them to motorcycles, which are still popular today.
As the industrialization of the United States progressed, the demand for automobiles grew. They were affordable to middle-class families and were sold at reasonable prices. In response, Henry Ford developed a moving assembly line in 1913. This allowed the company to produce a wider variety of models.
Early cars were produced by hand. Production methods varied, but they were generally comprised of a body and chassis, and an engine. They also were constructed with cranes and conveyor belts. These early designs were crude and inefficient.
With the advent of industrialization, car manufacturing became a global industry. Competition between automakers increased, as did the need for reliable construction. As a result, the automotive industry introduced components, improved control systems, and expanded safety measures.
By the time the World Wars ended, auto production had increased dramatically. This was due to the rise in the per capita income of Americans, which led to a greater need for transportation. As the economy grew and the automobile industry became a major source of employment, government subsidies helped boost sales. In 1995, auto sales surpassed 571,580. This was followed by a 70 percent decline in 1998. But the numbers have slowly started to recover in recent years. As of 2012, automobiles were responsible for over 1.4 billion kilometers, or about three trillion miles, of transportation.
Since the introduction of the internal combustion engine in 1885, automobiles have undergone extensive technological development. New technology has led to innovations in the design of engines, transmissions, and bodywork, and to the creation of new component parts. Several manufacturers have begun to introduce new models in response to changing market conditions.
In recent years, the automobile industry has grown in size and importance. It now accounts for more than a quarter of passenger cars sold worldwide. Approximately 70 million passenger cars are manufactured each year. The average vehicle owner drives more than five thousand kilometers annually, making it the most frequently owned form of transportation.
Modern automobiles are highly complex technical systems. They contain thousands of component parts and are designed to withstand a wide range of environmental and operating conditions. They also have increased performance requirements. They must be durable and resistant to high overloads, as well as to the rigors of off-road use. As a result, automobile manufacturers employ researchers, engineers, and scientists to develop and improve their products.
As the need for safe and efficient transportation became greater, the automotive industry developed new components and systems to combat air pollution and other hazards. They were also forced to limit hydrocarbon emissions. The European Union imposed stricter limits on the emission of nitric oxides and hydrocarbons, while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency required motorcycles to emit less than 5.0 grams of carbon monoxide and 1.4 grams of hydrocarbons for each mile travelled.