The automobile revolutionized transportation in the late 19th century and continues to do so today. It has made it possible to cover large distances with ease which opens up work possibilities, larger social circles and more options for where one wants to live in relation to their career. This invention has also brought with it a whole new set of industries and services such as hotels, restaurants, gas stations, fast food chains and amusement parks just to name a few. The Automobile has come a long way from its steam and electrically powered beginnings. These early vehicles had many shortcomings including a very limited speed limit, low range and recharging stations were difficult to find. The introduction of the gas powered automobile is considered to be the major turning point in vehicular evolution. It was created by a German inventor named Karl Benz in 1885. The first car was called the Motorwagen and it was a four wheeled vehicle that used an internal combustion engine and could seat a small number of passengers.
During the early 20th century the middle class in America was expanding which allowed more people to afford cars. Automobiles opened up the world to more leisure activities and helped people visit family and friends in rural areas that were previously not accessible. This was a very positive change in the American lifestyle and culture. However, the increase in car use did have negative side effects such as increased pollution of urban areas from exhaust and a drain on dwindling world oil reserves.
As the industry developed it spawned numerous industries that were needed to provide the fuel, parts, and other requirements. These included steel and petroleum industries. Many towns and cities grew to be dependent on the automobile industry for revenue as well as employment. It also contributed to the development of highways and other forms of public transportation. In addition, it stimulated outdoor recreation and the growth of related businesses such as campgrounds and hotels.
In the US, Henry Ford’s innovation of a conveyor belt-based assembly line at his factory in Michigan greatly increased production and decreased cost which made the Model T affordable for most Americans. Other innovations like the windshield, rearview mirrors and turn signals were added to the vehicle over time as the automobile industry evolved.
Automobiles are of many different types and can be classified based on their shape, size, power source, engine position, drive type, layout and whether they run on track, air, water, underwater or road. For example, a racecar is a type of automobile that is designed to be fast and have a high power to weight ratio. A family sedan on the other hand is designed for passenger comfort. The automobile has become a major part of the global economy and it will continue to grow in the future as more and more countries develop their infrastructure to accommodate this mode of transportation. It is estimated that the global market will reach over 590 million units in 2012 and it will continue to grow in the future.