Automobiles, also called cars, are a common sight on the world’s roads. These four-wheeled vehicles (with a rear engine), powered by internal combustion engines of volatile fuel, have become one of the most common of modern technologies and are manufactured by one of the largest industries in the world.

Modern automobiles are highly complex technical systems requiring sophisticated design and manufacture to ensure their safety and reliability. They incorporate an array of systems to manage and control the internal combustion, electrical, mechanical, and environmental aspects of vehicle operation. These subsystems include the power train, chassis and bodywork, control system, service devices, and interiors.

The automobile was first invented and perfected in Germany and France during the late 1800s by Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, and Nicolaus Otto, with the 1901 Mercedes considered the first truly modern motor car. However, Americans soon dominated the industry, with Henry Ford inventing techniques of mass production that made it possible for middle-class consumers to afford automobiles.

The advent of the automobile radically changed the way people live, work and play. Being able to travel from point A to point B quickly saves time and effort compared with using public transportation. In addition, traveling by car enables people to go further and visit places they might not have been able to reach on foot or bicycle. Finally, it allows us to have more leisure time with family and friends. It is estimated that there are over a billion cars on the roads globally and that they cover about three trillion miles each year.

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