Automobiles are designed to transport people and things, and are an integral part of our society. Their use affects everything from traffic patterns in cities, the design of city streets, police, fire, and ambulance services, to such personal uses as vacation travel and shopping. Few inventions have had such a profound effect on the world economy and the social life of many countries.
There are a wide variety of automobiles on the market today. Each is designed to meet the needs of a particular group of users. Some are designed to carry cargo, others are built for speed, and still others are built for safety or comfort. Many are designed to run on fuel, and some on electricity.
In the late 19th century, a number of inventors tried to make vehicles that would run on an internal combustion engine powered by gasoline. The first was a prototype by George Baldwin Selden of Rochester, New York in 1877. Selden’s design never worked, and he later sued Ford Motor Company for using his ideas without permission.
Gottlieb Daimler of Germany was another early innovator, and he developed his own four-stroke, liquid-fueled internal combustion engine in 1886. He fitted it to a horse carriage, but during its first test the vehicle crashed, and Daimler was killed.
Edouard Delamare-Deboutteville and Leon Malandin of France in 1907 patented a two-cylinder, liquid-fueled, internal combustion engine that was mounted on a tricycle. They built and tested their vehicle, but it was a failure due to the tank hose of the gas-fueled engine becoming loose and causing an explosion that shook the frame apart, literally “shaking it to pieces” as described by the pair themselves.
The modern automotive industry is constantly looking for ways to improve the performance of the automobile. Research and development engineers are employed by all major car manufacturers to develop new technical innovations, such as improving the chassis and body, engine, drivetrain, control systems, safety systems, and pollution-control systems. The design of an automobile must take into account such factors as fuel efficiency, size and weight, the materials used to construct the body, appearance, cost and price, and the requirements for standards of safety and pollution-control components.
In recent years, the automobile has been influenced by changes in consumer demand and regulations. Many features that were once optional or available only on more expensive models, such as tire pressure monitoring systems and stability control, are now mandatory for most cars sold in the United States. Some additional features, such as blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist systems are also increasing in popularity.
There are a number of benefits to owning an automobile, including the freedom and flexibility that it offers you. You can avoid relying on friends and family for rides, and you will not have to worry about the cost of public transportation or taxis. Another benefit is the privacy that comes with owning a car. If you have to move from one location to another often, your car is your home.