A car is a machine that uses an internal combustion engine to run and move. It can seat one to eight people, has four wheels and is used primarily for transportation. Many cars today have safety features that protect passengers from accidents or injuries. Many countries have laws that require drivers to wear a seat belt and children and babies must ride in child seats. Automobiles also create jobs, from making the vehicles to the parts and supplies needed to maintain them. Millions of people worldwide work in factories that make cars and millions more work in motels, restaurants and gas stations where travelers stop to get fuel or food.
The automobile was invented in the late 1800s by a German engineer, Karl Benz. He designed a small, gasoline powered vehicle with an internal combustion engine. Edouard Delamare-Deboutteville and Leon Malandin of France also built an early car. Both men patented their designs, but their first test vehicles were destroyed in explosions.
By the 1910s, more people could afford to own a car. This was because the industrial revolution in America had allowed more people to get good paying jobs. Automobiles were a big part of this change, because they gave people more freedom to travel and visit friends and family. This was a major shift in American society, and women became more active in the workforce and in social issues, such as promoting voting rights for women.
Many of the early automobiles were expensive to make, so they were only for wealthy people. The large number of vehicles was not good for the environment or for roads, but it did lead to development of industries and services that provided parts, fuel and maintenance. The invention of the assembly line made manufacturing more efficient, and that allowed companies to sell cars to more people at lower prices.
After World War II, the automobile industry changed again. It became a global business, and manufacturers began to use more advanced materials in their cars. Cars today are complicated machines with thousands of moving parts. Research and development engineers have been developing new ways to improve the engine, chassis, drivetrain, interiors and other areas of the car.
The automobile is still a crucial part of modern life, and it has contributed to many changes in society. It provides jobs for millions of people around the world, but it also causes problems such as traffic congestion and air pollution. Cars are also a huge drain on the dwindling world oil supply. There are still a lot of people who want to own a car, and they have many choices, including SUVs, minivans, sports cars and traditional sedans. But there are also a lot of alternatives to owning an automobile, and newer technologies may one day replace them.