Automobiles – What Are They and Why Do We Need Them?
Automobiles are a major part of our lives. We depend on them to get us to work and school and for family vacations. The automobile industry is one of the world’s largest and most profitable industries. It also contributes to many jobs in related fields like engineering, manufacturing, sales, service, fuel, and road construction. The branches of engineering that deal with the manufacture and technology of cars are called automotive engineering.
An automobile is a wheeled vehicle that has seats for people and four or more wheels to move it. It gets its energy from chemically burning a fuel or electrically charging a battery to run an engine or motor. The engines or motors send the energy to turn the wheels, and how fast they can do that is known as their power (measured in kilowatts or horsepower).
Engineers like Karl Benz invented the modern automobile. By the late 1800s, European manufacturers were making sophisticated machines that resembled horse-drawn carriages. American businessman Henry Ford improved the manufacturing process so that the automobile could be mass-produced at affordable prices for middle class families.
Having a car allows you to go where and when you want without having to rely on bus or train schedules or routes. It can help you reach distant work or shopping destinations, and it can provide convenience if you live in a rural area where public transportation is limited. However, narrow streets, traffic jams and crowded parking lots limit the automobile’s usefulness in some urban areas.