What Are Automobiles?

Automobiles are a type of wheeled vehicle that uses an engine to transport passengers. Most definitions of automobiles state that they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four wheels and mainly carry passengers rather than cargo.

Unlike the two-wheeled bicycle or the three-wheeled motorcycle, most automobiles enclose passengers and their luggage in a protective compartment with a roof, doors and windows. This offers protection from weather and road debris as well as safety features such as seat belts and airbags that are not available on other vehicles.

A car can be driven by either a human or an automated computer program that follows a set of rules for safe operation. These rules are usually based on the laws of physics and the vehicle’s handling characteristics. The speed limit and other traffic laws are also based on these rules.

The modern automobile was invented in 1886 when German inventor Carl Benz patented his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Benz’s design was more practical than previous models and became very popular in the United States. Henry Ford’s introduction of the assembly line made these automobiles affordable to the average American and helped them become an essential part of the economy.

Today, there are many different types of automobiles to meet the needs of consumers. These include sports cars, family sedans, pickup trucks and SUVs. Special automobiles for various purposes are also manufactured, including police cars, ambulances and fire engines. The development of new technical advances helps keep the auto industry at the forefront of innovation.