Automobiles are wheeled motor vehicles designed primarily for transportation of passengers on roads and often propelled by internal combustion engines using volatile fuel. Modern automobiles are complex technical systems consisting of thousands of subsystems with specific design functions. Some are based on breakthroughs in electronic computers, high-strength plastics and new alloys of steel and nonferrous metals. Others have been developed in response to environmental and safety legislation or to meet the demands of competitive markets around the world.

The invention of the automobile has been one of the biggest changes to American society since the first decade of the 20th century. It gave people freedom to visit places and activities they would not have been able to reach by other means. It also helped create industries that provided services like gas stations and convenience stores. It also contributed to leisure activities and brought about new businesses that provide vacations, hotels, amusement parks and other recreation, restaurants and fast food. It was also responsible for new laws and government requirements that affect traffic, safety, and the environment.

While it is difficult to say who actually invented the automobile, historians generally agree that Karl Benz of Germany was the first to develop a practical and marketable automobile in 1885/1886 with his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Many other inventors developed different types of steam, electric and gasoline cars during the early part of the 19th century.

An automobile consists of mechanical, electrical and control systems that are a combination of many parts that function as a whole to transport passengers safely and efficiently. The design of these systems is influenced by factors like cost-effective manufacturing, ease of use and aesthetic appeal. The basic components include the chassis, engine, transmission, tires and wheels, suspension system and electrical system. Other important features of an automobile are the seats, windshield and other windows, and the instrument panel that shows various functions such as speed, oil pressure and other information.

It is possible that future automobiles will be computerized and will be able to drive themselves. They could even be programmed to avoid bad driving behavior and respond to other drivers on the road. Such cars will probably have multiple sensors that will detect other vehicles and their movement, and may communicate with each other using wireless technologies.

In addition to the technology that will make these vehicles autonomous, they will likely need new materials for their bodies that are more durable and lighter than metal. They will also need advanced batteries for energy storage. They will need to be able to stop quickly in emergency situations and to accelerate quickly when the driver gives them instructions.

Having your own automobile gives you more freedom and convenience than having to take public transportation, which can be a hassle, especially in big cities with heavy traffic. However, there are risks when you’re out on the road and you must follow all traffic rules to be safe. You must also keep in mind that not everyone on the road is a careful and responsible driver, so it’s up to you to protect yourself and your passengers.