Automobiles are vehicles that use a gasoline-powered engine to run and carry passengers. The majority of automobiles are driven by humans but some are designed to be driven by robots. There are currently around 590 million automobiles in the world, with more than 140 million of them being in the United States. Automobiles have had a tremendous impact on society. They have made it possible to travel long distances with ease and they have helped open up new jobs and opportunities. But they have also created a number of problems that need to be dealt with. One of the most important problems is their effect on the environment. Automobiles create a lot of air pollution and they contribute to climate change. They also deplete the earth’s natural resources like fossil fuels. Another problem is their safety risks. There have been many accidents involving automobiles, and some of these accidents have been very serious.
The automobile was first perfected in Germany and France toward the end of the nineteenth century by such men as Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz and Nicolaus Otto. But it was Henry Ford who brought the automobile to the masses when he invented mass production techniques in the 1920s. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler became the Big Three automakers by the 1930s. But after the war, they began to lag behind foreign producers, especially in Europe and Japan. By the 1960s, market saturation combined with technological stagnation to reduce the dynamism of the industry.
OPENS UP THE WORLD: One of the main advantages of automobiles is that they make it easier to reach far away places. This opens up new work opportunities and more people to include in the social circle. It also makes it easier to visit family members in different cities. Without a car, these trips would take hours. But with an automobile, the journey can be accomplished in a matter of minutes.
SAVES TIME: Anyone who owns a car can attest to how much time it saves. Being able to travel long distances in a short period of time allows people to do other things with their spare time, such as spend more time with family or friends, and it also allows them to shop for goods at a more convenient time. Without an automobile, these trips can take a lot of time and often involve waiting for public transportation to arrive.
ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY: Automobiles are constantly evolving. Research and development engineers and scientists have worked to improve the body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, control systems, safety systems and emissions controls. Some of these improvements have been revolutionary while others have been incremental. In addition, many manufacturers are working to produce cars with more efficient engines and alternative fuel sources.
While the automobile has had a significant impact on American life, there are other forces that are combining to usher in a new age. The era of the automobile is slowly fading into a new era that includes electronics and robotics.