The History of Automobiles


Automobiles are vehicles that use an internal combustion engine to drive themselves on land. An automobile can have either a gasoline or diesel fuel. The branches of engineering that deal with the manufacture and technologies of these vehicles are known as automotive engineering. The majority of automobiles are driven by a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine, which uses the chemical energy of combusting a mixture of air and fuel to make the motor run and propel the vehicle. Usually, the power is transmitted to one or more wheels by means of a transmission system that has gears.

In the United States, the automobile revolutionized transportation and changed many of our daily activities. It gave people new freedom and access to jobs and services. Businesses sprang up to supply the cars with fuel, parts and services. Roads were improved and paved to handle the increased traffic. New industries, such as rubber and then plastics, were established to produce automobile components.

The first modern automobile was designed in Germany and France toward the end of the nineteenth century by such men as Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz and Nicolaus Otto. But the 1901 Mercedes, a two-cylinder, three-horsepower car with a tiller-steered, curved-dash front axle, deserves to be considered the very first modern automobile in all essentials.

By the 1920s, Americans had taken the lead in the world automotive industry, which became a major component of the American economy. Manufacturers innovated mass-production techniques, and Ford, General Motors and Chrysler emerged as the “Big Three” auto companies. Automobiles played a vital role in the expansion of American urban centers. They also served as a popular mode of personal transportation.

Any owner of a vehicle will tell you that their life has been greatly enhanced by the acquisition of an automobile. Instead of relying on public transportation, they can travel farther and faster, and enjoy more time with their family and friends.

Autos are not only a source of convenience, but can also serve as symbols of status and power. For example, the 1916 trip across the country by Nell Richardson and Alice Burke in their “votes for women” automobile was a bold move at the time. It helped to change the way that women viewed themselves and the world.

There are numerous other examples of how the automobile has altered the lives of people around the globe. As the use of automobiles has grown, so have traffic jams and the number of accidents and deaths. This has led to demand for licensing and safety regulations by state governments. In the 21st century, there is a movement to develop semiautonomous and fully autonomous cars in which a computerized system helps or replaces the human driver. This is a rapidly developing field of research, and it will be interesting to see how this technology evolves over time. Some automakers have already included automatic braking systems in some of their models. This is a step toward making the automobile safer and less reliant on human drivers.