Automobiles are vehicles that are typically used to transport people, goods, or both. They are highly complex technical systems, and include thousands of component parts. Besides being used in passenger transportation, automobiles have helped to revolutionize our society. They have become the most widely-used form of transportation worldwide. They have also created new industries and jobs.
The history of automobiles began in the early 19th century, when bicycle-like contraptions were first developed. Later, steam engines were introduced. These steam powered engines could go fast, but had limited range. They were inconvenient to start. Eventually, the gasoline-powered automobile won the competition. These cars dominated the streets of Europe by 1920.
After World War II, the auto industry grew rapidly. This was facilitated by the fact that the United States had a manufacturing tradition that made automobiles affordable to the middle class. This resulted in the “Big Three” automakers, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.
These companies improved their internal combustion engine, chassis, and safety systems. Eventually, cars began to replace horseless carriages as the primary family transportation. However, they were still used for commercial purposes, such as moving farm machinery. In addition, cars were used to provide transportation for special purposes, such as ambulances and milk vans.
The modern day automobile evolved from the development of the internal combustion engine. It was invented by Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens in the late 1600s. He patented the first successful engine in 1885. This invention enabled the creation of gasoline-powered automobiles that would take over the roads of Europe.
The automotive industry grew in the United States, Japan, and Europe after WWII. It became a global industry, with manufacturers splitting the market into smaller segments. During this time, the use of industrial materials was introduced, as was the introduction of assembly lines. This increased the competition between auto manufacturers. They introduced new designs more often.
In the mid-19th century, bicycle builder Ernest Michaux created a similar contraption. It featured a rear engine. This design was a precursor to the modern minivan. The Stout Scarab was the next step in the evolution of this technology. It had a streamlined beetle-like shape and was designed to carry a large number of passengers.
By the 1920s, the gasoline-powered automobile had overtaken the streets of the United States. It was made affordable by the introduction of assembly lines. It also became more convenient for drivers, thanks to new emission-control systems and high-performance engines. The Model T, manufactured by Ford, was a popular vehicle for the middle class. In addition, the automobile industry gained a boost from government subsidies.
In the late 1990s, the economy was strong in Thailand, and the country’s automobile sales were boosted. This trend continued, and automobiles accounted for nearly half of all passenger cars sold in the United States. This was attributed to a healthy economy and low interest rates. The Asian economic crisis has slowed down the numbers, but overall, the automobile industry continues to grow.