Few inventions have had a greater impact on daily life in modern times than the automobile. A car allows you to travel at your own pace, avoid congestion on highways and main roads, and make unplanned trips. It’s also helpful if you need to transport goods or people for your business. Having your own car makes it possible to get around town with ease and gives you the ability to take family and friends on road trips.
The technical and scientific building blocks of the modern automobile date back hundreds of years, when Leonardo da Vinci created designs and models for transport vehicles. The actual automobile, however, did not appear until the late 1800s. Credit is often given to Karl Benz, a German engineer, for inventing the first true automobile in 1885 or 1886.
Throughout the twentieth century, automobile inventors worked to bring advanced automotive technology within the reach of ordinary middle-class Americans. In the early 1900s, American automobile manufacturer Henry Ford innovated mass production techniques that revolutionized industrial manufacturing and brought the price of his Model T runabout down to $575 – less than a year’s wages for most middle-class families.
The automobile’s many parts are arranged into semi-independent systems that work together to achieve the vehicle’s goals and functions. The system that is most important is the engine, which converts fuel into mechanical energy to power the wheels and move the vehicle. Several different types of engines are used, including gasoline, diesel and kerosene.