Automobiles are a major part of our everyday lives, providing us with the freedom to travel to places that we could not reach before. This freedom also allows us to expand our social circle, as well as our work possibilities.
A modern automobile is a complex technical system that consists of thousands of component parts that have evolved from breakthroughs in technology and new alloys of steel and nonferrous metals. In addition, the modern car is designed to satisfy a wide range of design functions such as speed, safety, handling, and fuel efficiency. The result is that each generation of cars is objectively better in every measurable way than its predecessor.
The automobile revolutionized American society, allowing people to move away from the city to the countryside, as well as to visit friends and relatives living far away. It also allowed more people to enjoy leisure activities such as playing sports and visiting museums or art galleries.
The scientific and technical building blocks of the modern automobile date back several hundred years, when Christiaan Huygens invented a type of internal combustion engine sparked by gunpowder. The automobile was not widely used until the early 20th century, when it became affordable to many people.
During the first decades of the 20th century, Ford developed the moving assembly line, which made it possible to produce automobiles in large numbers at reasonable prices. This opened the automobile market to the middle class, and America quickly became a motor vehicle-dependent society.
In addition to the convenience of traveling to places outside your local area, an automobile can also be a useful tool for transporting equipment or tools needed for your job or hobbies. Using a ride-share service during peak travel times or special events can often be expensive, but owning a car can prevent these price surges and allow you to allocate the money saved for more important purposes.
Most automobiles run on a liquid fuel such as gasoline, although electric vehicles are available. When the fuel is burned inside the engine, it creates mechanical energy that moves the wheels of the automobile and propels it forward. Different types of automobiles require different amounts and kinds of energy; for example, a sports car built for speed requires a larger engine, more fuel, and more sophisticated suspension systems than a family sedan. Moreover, some types of automobiles are specially designed for specific tasks such as hauling heavy loads or performing road construction. The branch of engineering that deals with the manufacturing and technology of automobiles is called Automotive Engineering.