Automobiles are motor vehicles designed to transport people and cargo. They are classified according to the load-carrying capacity of their engine and body, and how many wheels they have. Those with four wheels are called light motor vehicles (LMV), while those with six or more wheels are called heavy motor vehicles. The LMV category includes cars, jeeps, mini vans and buses. The HMV category includes trucks, trailers, containers and multi-axle busses. Research and development is constantly being carried out to improve the performance of automobiles, including their fuel efficiency, safety standards and comfort features. In addition, there is also a lot of work being done on developing an automobile which can drive itself.
Having your own car can save you a lot of time and money that you would have otherwise spent on public transportation. It can help you avoid traffic jams by leaving earlier or taking an alternate route. This can make it easier for you to get to your destination on time, and will prevent you from getting late for important meetings or social gatherings.
The automobile changed the world in many ways. It ended rural isolation and brought urban amenities such as schools, medical care and shopping to remote areas. It spurred participation in outdoor recreation and created new industries such as service stations, restaurants and motels. It also stimulated the growth of highway construction and paved the way for suburbanization. However, its higher unit profits came at the price of increased air pollution and a drain on dwindling world oil reserves.
As the world’s population grows, so does its demand for transportation. Automobiles have become the dominant mode of transportation, replacing horses and carriages. They are safer and more comfortable than their horse-drawn counterparts and can travel at much faster speeds. They are also easier to operate, especially for those with limited physical abilities.
During the early 20th century, automobile manufacturers such as Ford and Chevrolet greatly outpaced their competitors in reconciling state-of-the-art design with moderate prices. Their Model T was the first affordable automobile that could be bought by the general public.
Other automobile innovations include electric ignition, the auto-starter and independent suspension. Some manufacturers have developed alternative engines, such as Mazda’s Wankel engine, but none of them have gained wide acceptance.
Since 2010, there has been a growing focus on developing an automobile in which a computerized driving system greatly aids or replaces the human driver. While such a vehicle is still in the early stages, it may eventually lead to the ultimate driverless car.