Automobiles are four-wheeled passenger vehicles that are usually powered by an internal-combustion engine that uses a volatile fuel. They are designed primarily for transportation over roads and highways. Cars are complex technical systems, and their design depends to a great extent on their intended use. For example, vehicles that are designed for off-road conditions require durable, simple systems and high resistance to extreme overloads and operating conditions. On the other hand, those that are designed for high-speed, limited-access road systems need passenger comfort options, optimized engine performance and improved handling capabilities.

The automobile was conceived and perfected in the late 19th century by men such as Nicolaus Otto, Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz, and Emilio Levassor. Towards the end of that period, a German company named Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft built a model automobile with an internal combustion engine that was able to achieve fifty-three miles per hour. A few years later, Ransom E. Olds introduced a gasoline-powered automobile with a one-cylinder, three-horsepower engine that was light enough to enable the average American family to afford it.

Having your own automobile means that you can go where you want, when you want. You don’t have to worry about whether you will make it to the bus stop in time or getting caught in traffic on the freeway. It also saves you a lot of time, which can be very valuable.

The automobile has transformed the way we live and work. It has fueled the expansion of cities, spawned suburban housing and shopping centers, accelerated participation in outdoor recreation, and brought urban services to rural America. It has also sparked the development of automobile-related businesses, including service stations and roadside restaurants.