The automobile is one of the most common forms of transportation today. It is used for commercial and pleasure purposes. Automobiles are highly complex technical systems with thousands of parts. They are manufactured by a large workforce and use precise robotics. Auto manufacturers employ scientists and engineers to develop new technologies and safety systems.
During the twentieth century, stricter standards were put in place. Automakers were encouraged to use safer and more efficient equipment, improve the efficiency of their vehicles, and reduce their emissions. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was given the authority to enforce safety standards and coordinate state programs to improve driver behavior. Currently, auto companies are working to introduce standardized replaceable batteries for mid-sized motorcycles.
Automotive engineering has developed a long tradition in the United States. This tradition has helped lower the cost of autos for middle-class families. When the automobile industry was struggling in the early 1980s, the government stepped in and bailed out Chrysler Corporation.
Today, an estimated 70 million new passenger cars are built each year around the world. Half of these are imported. Although the automobile is the most popular form of transportation in the United States, it is also a leading cause of air pollution. In addition, automobiles are often targets of thieves.
Modern automobiles are complex technical systems that have been improved over the years. There are now thousands of component parts that work together to form an engine, body, and drivetrain. These subsystems are developed by competing manufacturers throughout the world. Manufacturers have been able to segment the market and introduce new designs more frequently.
Vehicles designed for off-road use are tough and durable. They must be able to withstand severe overloads and extreme operating conditions. They also need to be designed with high-speed handling. To improve their cornering ability, automobiles are typically equipped with tires.
A number of court cases have ruled that motorcycles are not classified as automobiles. However, there is no clear-cut definition. Some people claim that the term “automobile” applies to three-wheeled motorcycles with sidecars. Others say that it is a gray area. Whatever the case, the terms are frequently confused.
During the early 1800s, automobiles were created as bicycle-like contraptions. One of the first models was the Stout Scarab, which was designed by William Bushnell Stout. This model was built to carry a large number of passengers. Another, similar machine was created by Sylvester Howard Roper in 1867.
In the 1970s, oil shortages caused the price of gasoline to rise. This caused more citizens to rely on imported automobiles. As the auto industry in the United States began to fall behind Japanese automakers, the U.S. government negotiated a quota system with Japan to limit the import of these vehicles.
By the mid-1970s, the United States had lost its lead in auto production to Japan. But by the late 1970s, the U.S. auto industry had regained some ground. Still, by 2004, General Motors had held the title of largest auto maker.