Automobiles – How They Open Up the World

Automobiles are four-wheeled vehicles designed primarily for passenger transportation and commonly propelled by an internal combustion engine using a volatile fuel. They have become one of the most common forms of personal transportation, with more than three trillion miles (5 trillion kilometres) being driven each year. Modern automobiles are complex technical systems, containing many subsystems with specific design functions, and rely on advanced technologies such as electronic computers, high-strength plastics and new alloys of steel and nonferrous metals.

The scientific and technical building blocks of the automobile go back several hundred years to Leonardo da Vinci’s designs and models, but the automobile as a practical means of transport did not take shape until the late 1800s. It was perfected in Germany and France by engineers such as Karl Benz, while American businessman Henry Ford introduced a mass production method that brought car technology within reach of middle class Americans.


An automobile allows you to travel long distances more quickly than can be done by foot, bicycle or public transportation. This enables you to work in different places, visit family and friends, and shop around for the best prices and services. It also gives you the independence and freedom to choose when to get where you need to go.

Having a car is more convenient than relying on other people to drive you to your destination, but it can cause problems such as traffic congestion, air pollution and the draining of global oil supplies. Fortunately, there are alternatives such as trains, buses and trams that can help you get where you need to go more quickly and cheaply when the need arises.