Automobiles are a fundamental part of modern life. They help us travel across town, visit relatives, go shopping, and so much more. Automobiles are self-propelled vehicles that use an internal combustion engine fueled most often by gasoline, but sometimes by other fossil fuels, electric power, or even hydrogen. The branches of engineering that deal with automobiles are known as automotive engineering.
The automobile revolutionized American life in a way that no other technology has. It brought urban amenities like better schools and medical care to rural America, reshaped the architecture of cities, and enabled women to go to work outside the home. It was a huge force in the development of the American suburbs, and it helped bring about the industrialization of America by allowing manufacturers to produce cars cheaply enough for most middle-class families to afford them.
It is also a major consumer of raw materials, including steel and petroleum, and it is the main customer for many ancillary industries. As a result, its demands have spurred innovation in its own design and performance, as well as in the technologies of the ancillary industries.
Modern car design is constantly evolving, especially when it comes to safety. Many different systems are being introduced to improve driving safety, including blind-spot monitoring, auto-braking, and more. These innovations are driven by a combination of factors, including rising energy costs, government safety standards, and societal expectations for greater vehicle efficiency. They can also be influenced by advances in electronic computer technology and high-strength materials.