An automobile is a motor vehicle for transporting passengers, usually with four wheels and powered by an internal combustion engine most often fuelled by gasoline. Also called cars, motor vehicles, and formerly motorcars, automobiles are one of the world’s most ubiquitous and widely used of modern technologies, with millions produced worldwide each year. The branches of engineering that deal with automobiles are referred to as automotive engineering.
The history of the automobile is a story of both promise and pitfalls. Early accounts credited Karl Benz with creating the first true automobile in 1885/1886, but many other inventors and engineers continued to innovate until, in 1910, Henry Ford introduced the assembly line, which enabled mass production and made his Model T car affordable for most middle-class families.
Automobiles revolutionized society and brought new jobs and industries. Roads, highways, and other transportation infrastructure developed to accommodate them, and services like gas stations and restaurants sprung up. People became dependent on the automobile and envisioned a future that would seem inconceivable without it.
With the rise of cars came problems like traffic and pollution. New laws, safety standards, and driver licenses developed to address them. Various systems were introduced to make automobiles safer, such as blind-spot monitoring systems and automated emergency braking. Some were even mandatory in order to meet government standards. The development of more efficient engines and the growth of the petroleum industry made the automobile a dominant force in the economy.