Automobiles are the vehicles that we use to transport ourselves and our goods. They play a vital role in our lives as they save time on our travels and allow us to explore places that are otherwise not accessible without them.
Automobile engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the design and manufacture of automobiles. New automobiles are developed to respond to public tastes and preferences.
Auto-makers use computer-aided design equipment to develop basic concept drawings of their new models. Then they construct clay models to study styling and aerodynamics.
They also use aerodynamic engineers to study air-flow parameters and do feasibility studies on crash tests.
The first automobiles were steam-powered cars, built by Nicolas Joseph Cugnot in Paris in 1789 and Richard Trevithick in England in 1801. In the 19th century, a team of German engineers, led by Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler, improved on their earlier designs by developing an internal-combustion engine.
Gasoline engines, using an oxygen-rich mixture of fuel, gasoline, and air, soon became the dominant power source for automobiles. Electric and battery-powered vehicles also competed for decades, but they had limited ranges and recharger stations were hard to find.