The automobile, invented by German Benz and American Henry Ford, is one of the most important and widespread modern technologies. The modern automobile is a four-wheeled, self-propelled motor vehicle intended for passenger transportation on land. It is powered by an internal combustion engine fueled most commonly by gasoline, a liquid petroleum product. The modern automobile has thousands of individual parts, arranged into several semi-independent systems that work together to make it operate. These include the engine, chassis, suspension system, electrical system and the cooling and lubrication systems. The design of the different automobile systems depends on the intended use. For example, a car designed for off-road driving requires durable, simple systems, high resistance to severe overloads and extreme operating conditions. On the other hand, a sports car designed for high-speed driving requires more passenger comfort options, increased engine performance and optimized high-speed handling and stability.

The modern automobile has many social effects, including giving people the ability to travel far distances quickly and easily. This enables them to live in cities and visit friends and family who live in rural areas. It also opens up new jobs and larger social circles, and allows people to change careers more easily.

In addition, the automobile makes work more portable, so that people can choose where they want to live in relation to their job. This creates more opportunities for families, and gives young adults greater freedom to find their own place in the world. This has a ripple effect, opening up many more choices for education and personal development, such as traveling to study or working abroad.

There are some drawbacks to the automobile, however. Traffic jams and accidents can be stressful for drivers, and the emission of exhaust pollution can harm the environment. This has led to government requirements for safety features like seat belts and highway rules.

An important consideration when choosing an automobile is its fuel efficiency. The best cars are those that can get the most miles out of a tank of gas, with good economy and low emissions. Other important factors are power, safety, comfort and the appearance of the vehicle. The design of an automobile must take all of these into account, and compromises must often be made to satisfy the demands of different factors.


Joey Capparella has written about the automotive industry for more than 30 years, starting his career writing for a local newspaper in Nashville. He has worked as a full-time writer for Automobile Magazine since 2016. He has covered everything from luxury and exotic cars to trucks and economy vehicles, and has written extensively about both the technology and the history of the auto industry. He lives in New York City. Follow him on Twitter: @joeycapparella. He is an expert in the history of automotive technology. He has a master’s degree in the history of science and technology from Rice University. He is an active member of the Society of Automotive Historians.