Automobiles are a type of vehicle used to transport people. They are generally four-wheeled and are propelled by an internal combustion engine using a volatile fuel.
Cars are the primary mode of transportation in most countries, including the United States. In 2002 there were 590 million passenger cars worldwide (one car for every eleven people), and 140 million in the U.S.
Modern Automobiles are a complex technical system consisting of thousands of component parts. They have evolved from breakthroughs in existing technology and from new technologies such as electronic computers, high-strength plastics, and new alloys of steel and nonferrous metals.
The development of the automobile industry was driven by the demands of the twentieth century, which brought a revolution in consumer goods-oriented society. The automobile industry became the backbone of a petroleum- and steel-dominated economy, and provided one out of six jobs in the United States in 1982.
In the 19th century, most vehicles were built by specialized craftspeople who fashioned them individually from spare parts. The advent of Henry Ford’s assembly line in 1908, however, changed that practice.
By eliminating the need for workers to walk from stand to stand, Ford reduced the time needed for each car to be assembled from 2.5 minutes to just under two. This technique, commonly referred to as mass production, was eventually adopted by virtually all industrial manufacturers.
The automobile has revolutionized our lives and continues to do so today. It allows people to live in a variety of places, travel to work or school, and enjoy the many luxuries of life. Without the automobile, our lives would be far more limited and inconvenient.