Automobiles are wheeled vehicles used for transportation. They are also known as motor cars and a large variety of different types of automobiles exist, from sedans to SUVS and vans. Most modern automobiles are powered by internal combustion engines that run on volatile fuels like gasoline, diesel, CNG or electricity. Automobiles have evolved into complex technical systems with thousands of subsystems that each serve specific design functions. The automobile industry is a global enterprise, with production and sales centered in Asia, Europe and the United States.
Modern automobiles have become an integral part of everyday life in the developed world, and are a major source of income for manufacturers and other businesses. The development of the automobile has changed societies in many ways, giving people freedom to travel long distances. In addition, the automobile enables people to work in places other than where they live, opening up more career options and expanding social networks. However, the automobile has its drawbacks as well, such as traffic congestion and environmental pollution from emissions.
The history of the automobile began with steam, electric and then gasoline-powered vehicles competing against each other for decades. Karl Benz of Germany is credited with inventing the modern automobile in 1885, when he patented his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. During the early years of the 20th century, automobiles became more affordable and were marketed as mass-produced consumer goods. As a result, design changes were driven more by marketing plans than engineering improvements.
There are several different kinds of automobiles, ranging from passenger vehicles (cars, buses, taxis) to commercial ones (trucks and other cargo transporters) and special purpose vehicles (Ambulances, Fire Brigade Vehicles etc). Passenger vehicles account for the majority of automobiles on the road, with around 1.4 billion vehicles being used worldwide.
One disadvantage of the automobile is that it can be very expensive to repair or replace if damaged. Another is the problem of commuting in traffic, which can lead to stress and fatigue, especially for those who drive long distances on a regular basis. Finally, there are concerns about automobile accidents and the potential for injury to passengers or drivers.
Some people prefer to use public transportation or ride-sharing services instead of driving their own automobiles. These alternatives can be faster and more convenient, and they help reduce traffic and air pollution. For example, trains and subways can carry more people than a single automobile, and buses can travel more quickly than multiple cars in a given area. In addition, public transportation is cheaper than owning and maintaining an automobile.