Automobiles are a major part of our modern world, without them we would not have many of the modern luxuries that we take for granted. The automobile industry is one of the largest in the world, with 1.4 billion cars on the road. Automobiles are powered by internal combustion engines, which are fueled by petroleum products. The modern automobile consists of thousands of individual subsystems with specific design functions.
Invented in the late 1800s, the automobile quickly became a key force for change in twentieth century America. It was the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented society and provided a large percentage of the jobs in America’s economy. It was also the lifeblood of a new petroleum industry and a major consumer of steel and other industrial products. The American automobile industry pioneered the techniques of mass production, and companies like Ford, General Motors and Chrysler emerged as global leaders. The automobile is now a vital industry in over a hundred countries.
The automobile has brought a freedom of movement and personal mobility that was unimaginable in earlier times. It has opened up the ability to live in a variety of locations and to choose the type of lifestyle one wants to lead. Automobiles have allowed us to travel for work, vacations and family activities. They have allowed people to work in different locations and for more hours. They have changed the way we communicate, shop and entertain. They have allowed us to have a larger variety of choices in the types of food we eat, the movies we watch and the clothes we wear.
Karl Benz is credited with inventing the first automobile around 1885, but the automobile really took off with Henry Ford’s introduction of mass production. The Ford assembly line greatly reduced the cost of making the car, which in turn made it more affordable for a much wider range of people.
Auto manufacturers often develop their own unique versions of the automobile, to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Some designs are based on the latest technology and others reflect the trends of popular culture. For example, in the postwar era automobiles were often designed to appeal to the sense of “style” rather than for efficiency and safety. These vehicles produced air pollution and were a drain on the nation’s dwindling oil supply.
The modern automobile is a complex technical system, and it takes time for scientists to completely understand how all of the systems work together. The engine is the most important, but there are many other parts that need to work in conjunction to make the vehicle function properly. It is the job of the automotive engineer to create and test these various systems to ensure that they are working properly as a whole.
Owning a car gives you the flexibility to schedule your day, as well as the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can drive yourself home even if public transportation is not running. Owning a car can also give you the freedom to go to events in different parts of the city without having to depend on friends or strangers to drive you home.