Automobiles are self-propelled vehicles that can carry passengers or cargo. They are usually four-wheeled vehicles that are fueled by gasoline. A typical automobile has a front engine and rear transmission. However, some automobiles are designed to have an engine in the back instead of the front. In addition to a fuel source, an automobile can have a gasoline or diesel fuel pump, a muffler, a steering system, an ignition system, a tire, and a brake.
The modern automobile began to develop in the late 1800s. This development was influenced by breakthroughs in technology and safety legislation. It also came from the invention of the internal combustion engine. Since then, the automobile industry has become one of the largest in the world.
During the early 1900s, the automotive industry was dominated by American manufacturers. But the industry began to expand globally after World War II. After the war, Japanese companies began to produce automobiles. By the mid-twentieth century, three American carmakers had emerged as the “Big Three” auto makers. These included Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.
The early automobiles were mostly bicycle-like contraptions. Edward Butler, for example, built the first commercial three-wheeler in 1884. His model used a horizontal single-cylinder gasoline engine with a drive chain attached to the rear wheel.
As the demand for automobiles increased in the United States and Europe, manufacturers began to introduce new designs. Many of them had an automatic transmission. Also, manufacturing techniques made the automobiles more affordable for middle-class families. Those techniques included assembly lines and the use of a highly skilled workforce.
When designing an automobile, the manufacturer should consider several factors, including its size, shape, and intended use. If it will be used for off-road driving, for instance, the automobile will need to be durable and have optimized high-speed handling. Likewise, it should have low vibrations when running. And, if it will be used for passenger transport, it should have a smooth ride and an attractive shape.
A three-wheeled vehicle with a front engine and a rear transmission, like the Stout Scarab, was a precursor to the modern minivan. William Bushnell Stout worked on the design with his engineering firm. He was able to accommodate several passengers in his machine.
Another type of automobile is a bus. Some buses are designed to carry a large number of people, while others are designed to carry only a few. Similarly, some buses are aimed at carrying small amounts of cargo.
Modern automobiles are highly complex technical systems. They are made from thousands of component parts. Typically, they are driven by an internal-combustion engine that is water-cooled or air-cooled. There are also some hybrid vehicles that operate in electric-only mode.
The auto industry employs scientists and research and development engineers. To improve an automobile’s performance, manufacturers also improve its chassis, safety systems, and emission control systems. While the definition of an automobile can be confusing, it generally refers to any self-propelled motorized vehicle.
Automobiles are one of the most widely used modes of transportation in modern society. They are designed to be cheap to manufacture and to provide a safe means of transporting passengers.