Automobiles are wheeled motor vehicles that are mostly used for transportation. These vehicles typically have four wheels and can seat one to eight people. Most automobile definitions also note that they run on the road. While the main purpose of a car is to transport people, there are also other functions they may serve.
Social effects of automobiles
The development of automobiles has had profound social effects. For example, they have facilitated family vacations, made it possible to shop in town, and boosted teenagers’ independence. They have also contributed to a culture of relaxed sexual attitudes. At the same time, automobiles have created an unsustainable car dependency system, which can lead to adverse health effects.
Automobiles are an integral part of our modern society, affecting every aspect of our daily lives. From urbanization and suburbanization to pollution, automobiles have altered public life in huge ways. They are responsible for two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. The social effects of automobiles go beyond the individual, as they affect the environment, public health, and urban development.
Motorised transportation systems also contribute to deforestation and resource-intensive patterns of development. In some countries, the automobile is the most expensive commodity purchased by households, making it an important capital object. As such, the increased need for automobiles increases the demand for more capital.
Environmental effects of automobiles
Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of their automobiles, and are seeking out information on how they can choose a vehicle with the lowest environmental impact. The environmental performance of a vehicle can be measured with the help of a fuel economy label, and this information can be useful in determining which car to purchase.
Cars emit toxic gases that pollute air and water. Horses produce much less pollution than cars, but cars are more widespread in urban areas and tend to be cheaper. The emissions from car exhaust are damaging to living organisms and can lead to respiratory diseases and ozone depletion. Furthermore, automobiles generate loud noise, which can cause headaches and hearing problems in people exposed to them.
A number of environmental groups are addressing the issue of fuel economy and the environmental effects of automobiles. One of the leading groups is the Rainforest Action Network, which has launched the “Don’t Be Fueled!” campaign. This campaign is a grassroots effort to stop American dependence on oil and stop global climate change.
Design of modern automobiles
Historically, the design of automobiles has varied from one generation to another. However, the last couple of decades have seen the design of modern automobiles become more homogenized. This has largely been a result of government regulations. Manufacturers are now more conservative about the appearance of their new models, because the costs of re-designing a car would be too high.
As a result, today’s automobiles have evolved to incorporate complex automotive electronics and software algorithms installed on the electronic control units. In order to meet these demands, automotive design techniques have also evolved. One such technique is hardware-in-the-loop simulation, which helps reduce development costs while increasing vehicle quality.
Another innovator in the field of automotive design is Gottlieb Daimler. A fellow German, Daimler worked to develop a more efficient internal combustion engine for an automobile. His first vehicle, a bicycle, had little resemblance to a modern automobile. Later, Daimler went on to develop the first motorcycle and a four-wheeled vehicle. His automobiles gained popularity throughout the 19th century, and the company became a major competitor of Benz in both the German and French markets.