Automobiles are vehicles powered by internal combustion engine that transport people and goods. They can be driven on highways, city streets or country roads. In addition, automobiles can be equipped with special devices to help them do more than simply get you from point A to point B. Special cars are used for different purposes such as ambulances, fire engines and police vehicles.
Automobile technology has been advancing quickly, thanks to hundreds of small manufacturers competing for world attention. By the early 1900s, new inventions included electric ignition and self-starters (developed by Charles Kettering for the Cadillac Motor Company in 1910-1911), independent suspension and four-wheel brakes. By 1920, automobile production had shifted to mass-production to satisfy market demand. Several large companies had emerged: Ford, General Motors and Chrysler.
OPENS UP THE WORLD
With the advent of the automobile, people could travel much further than they ever had before. This opened up many more possibilities for careers, relationships and family life. It allowed urban dwellers to rediscover pristine countryside landscapes, and rural dwellers to shop in towns. It also allowed young couples to date without the constraints of parents and other family members.
As the automobile became more affordable, many middle-class families acquired one, and this increased social mobility. It enabled children to go to college and pursue their dreams of becoming doctors or lawyers, and it allowed adults to visit relatives and friends who lived far away.
The era of the automobile also gave rise to many other industries and jobs, including those that provided parts and fuel. Businesses that made steel and machine tools sprang up to make the chassis, body and other metal fixtures of the car, while others made tires, hoses, headlights, upholstery, paint, and batteries. Some manufacturers even produced their own engines and transmissions.
By the 1900s, most of the mechanical technology of the car had been invented, although it would take time for some innovations to be adapted to mass-production. For example, front-wheel drive was credited to Andre Citroen in 1934, but it had appeared years earlier on race cars from Alvis and Cord, and on road cars from Miller and Linon.
In the 21st century, automobile technology has advanced to include hybrid and electrical cars, which run on both fossil fuels and electricity. They are designed to be safer and more environmentally friendly than traditional gas-powered cars.