Automobiles are self-propelled vehicles which can carry people or goods. They have four to eight tires and are powered by an internal combustion engine or electric motors. The branches of engineering which deal with the manufacture and technologies of these automobiles are known as Automotive Engineering. Automobiles are the main mode of transportation today and they play a very important role in our daily life. Almost all of us can’t imagine our lives without them.
Car ownership can open up new possibilities for your lifestyle and work options. It can make it easier to save time, choose where you want to live in relation to your work, and bring more people into your social circle. It can also help you cover a lot of distances with ease, which opens up the potential for many different types of jobs, and even new cities and countries to consider as your home base.
In the 20th century automobiles became the backbone of a consumer-goods-oriented economy, and an essential force for change in American society. The automobile became the main customer for petroleum and steel, and it revolutionized the technology of a variety of ancillary industries. It was the first industry to become truly global in scope, and it is currently melding into a new Age of Electronics.
One of the most important innovations in automotive technology is the transmission system. It converts the engine’s high torque into a much higher speed of movement for the wheels, and vice versa. The mechanical system is usually made of gears, a clutch, and fluid couplings, all of which are designed to transmit the power of the engine from the driving shaft to the driven wheel. The engine’s power is proportional to the number of rotations of the driven shaft, and therefore the transmission system must be capable of adjusting the relative speeds between the two shafts as they spin at the same rate or at different rates.
An important part of the automobile is the frame, which is the structure that supports all other parts of the vehicle. The frame is shaped to provide rigidity and shape, and it is built from steel, aluminum, or another lightweight metal. The frame is attached to a suspension system and axles, which are in turn attached to the wheels. The wheels are shaped to create a smooth, safe ride and to resist damage from potholes and other road debris.
Modern automotive design and production are based on mass-production techniques, which have enabled large companies like Ford, GM, and Chrysler to dominate the market since the 1920s. Marketing plans often heavily influence automotive design. For example, Alfred P. Sloan pioneered the concept of “models” that used similar components and features so that buyers could move up from lower-priced models to the more expensive ones as their financial status improved. This strategy helped the automotive industry survive a period of economic crisis after World War II, when production in Europe and Japan soared to meet demand.