Automobiles are motor vehicles that primarily transport people. They use an internal combustion engine to power their wheels, and are considered one of the most important inventions of the twentieth century.
The modern automobile is a complex system containing countless subsystems with specific design functions and uses thousands of component parts. They are typically made of metals, plastics, and composite materials. They are designed to be safe, comfortable, and efficient.
Passenger cars, such as sedans and sports cars, are the most common types of automobiles. However, they can also be used for other purposes. They can be specialized for commercial or industrial transportation.
In the United States, the word automobile is usually applied to a passenger vehicle with seating for one to seven passengers and with four wheels. These vehicles have been developed for different purposes and often have various features, such as different body styles or interiors.
History of the automobile
The first mechanically driven vehicle was a steam-powered carriage. It was designed and built by Nicolas Cugnot in 1672, but it took more than a hundred years before the first gasoline-powered automobile was manufactured.
A number of inventors and engineers attempted to build a working model before Benz was granted a patent for his Benz-Motorwagen in 1886. His early cars were crude, but he improved upon them over the years.
When he finally produced a car in 1888, it had a battery ignition system, spark plugs, and a gear shift. He had also designed an accelerator for speed regulation and a radiator for cooling the engine.
Benz later improved his vehicle with a fuel injection system, a cylinder head, a water pump, and other improvements. The Benz-Motorwagen was a major milestone in the development of automobiles, and it helped to establish the automotive industry.
The car became widely available during the 20th century, and it soon replaced horse-drawn carriages. Its mass production techniques and the lack of government regulations made it affordable to many consumers.
This led to a huge change in American society, and it caused a large increase in the use of transportation services. However, it also had some negative consequences, such as increased pollution and health care costs associated with road traffic accidents.
In the United States, automobiles are a vital part of modern life. They help people get to work and school on time, and they provide a sense of freedom and independence.
It is not without cost though, as it requires fuel, repairs and maintenance, parking fees, tire replacement, insurance and taxes. These costs have a great impact on the economy and on the environment as well.
The term automobile is also applied to two-wheeled motorbikes, mopeds and scooters, and to the vehicles used for industrial and agricultural tasks, such as metal stamping and presseworking. It is also used to describe a variety of other light-duty and heavy-duty transport vehicles, including buses and trucks.
The earliest automobiles were hand-built, but the first mass-produced vehicle, the Otto Cycle, was designed by Karl Benz of Germany in 1885 and built in Mannheim. It was patented on 29 January 1886, and he began producing it on 3 July of that year. Other European automobile manufacturers followed Benz’s lead, such as Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach.