Automobiles are a major component of the modern world and their role in society is both inescapable and profound. Almost every aspect of life is affected in some way by automobiles, from food delivery to work to shopping and everything in between. The automotive industry is also one of the world’s largest industries, employing millions of people in factories around the globe. The automobile is a complex technical system composed of numerous subsystems with specific design functions. It is designed to meet standards for safety, emissions control, engine performance and other factors.
There are many reasons why owning an automobile is important for individuals and families. One of the most obvious benefits is that a car provides freedom and privacy that public transportation does not. Having your own vehicle gives you the ability to avoid getting caught in traffic and save time by leaving early or going later than everyone else. You can also avoid being stuck in a traffic jam due to an accident or road construction by simply taking an alternate route.
Owning an automobile also allows you to take your children where they need to go without worrying about having to schedule a ride for them. If you have children in school, it allows you to get them to their lessons and extracurricular activities when they need to be there. You can also use your car to visit friends and family who live far away.
The automobile has brought about changes in technology, society and everyday living that have been a powerful force for change throughout the twentieth century. It was the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented economy and a key force for change in industrial production. It created ancillary industries and jobs for the manufacture of parts, fuels and other materials. It revolutionized the distribution of products and services and restructured entire societies. It offered the promise of great personal mobility to its owners and encouraged sprawl (i.e., straggling, low-density development).
The science and technology behind the automobile is vast. It is difficult to categorize because it encompasses many different fields and disciplines. It includes mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and automotive engineering. These are all disciplines focused on the design and manufacture of motor vehicles for passenger transportation and other uses.
The automobile is a complex technical system comprising several subsystems that are interrelated and must work together. These include the body, chassis, engine, transmission, braking system, electrical systems, cooling and lubrication systems, wheels and tires, suspension system, and other components. The earliest automobiles were powered by steam engines, electric power or gasoline. Electric cars had a 38 percent share of the American market in 1900, but were expensive and recharging stations were not easily available. Gasoline-powered automobiles quickly came to dominate the American marketplace. They had a greater range and speed than steam or battery cars, and could be purchased by middle-class consumers. The development of mass production techniques allowed manufacturers to offer affordable models and expand their market.