Automobiles (from Ancient Greek: auto, “self” + French: véhicule, “vehicle”) are motor vehicles used for personal transportation. They usually have four wheels and an engine that is fueled most commonly by gasoline, a liquid petroleum product. They are one of the most widespread and universal of modern technologies.

The first automobiles were steam and electric-powered and were introduced in the late 1700s and early 1800s. It wasn’t until Karl Benz invented the gas powered car that the automotive industry really took off.

By the 1920s the automobile had swept over the streets and highways of America and Europe. It was the preferred mode of family transport. Cars became a symbol of freedom and allowed families to travel and live where they wanted. They also brought people together. Two women in 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke, made a pretty bold move in their cars and drove around the country advocating for the right of women to vote. They even decorated their car with banners saying “votes for women”.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, engineers and designers have worked on improving the design and performance of automobiles. These include improvements to body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, and control systems. They have also focused on increasing fuel economy and safety. The latest developments in automobiles include hybrid, electrical, and autonomous cars as society moves away from the internal combustion engine. Cars are still the primary mode of family transportation in the United States and many other parts of the world.

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