Automobiles, also known as cars or motorcars, are wheeled vehicles designed primarily for transportation on land. They are powered by internal combustion engines, burning a volatile fuel to generate the mechanical energy that drives them. An automobile is a complex machine with many systems that work together, each with a specific design function. These systems include the body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, control systems, safety systems and electrical systems. Research and development engineers continually try to improve the body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, and electrical systems of an automobile to meet consumer demand and industry regulations.

The modern automobile is one of the most important inventions in history. It has revolutionized everyday life for millions of people. People have greater freedom and more leisure time because of their ability to travel by car. This has boosted the economy by creating new jobs in industries like automobile manufacturing and services like gas stations and restaurants. It has also allowed families to relocate to more rural areas where public transportation is scarce or nonexistent.

Inventors have been working on the automobile since at least the late 1700s and 1800s. They had to overcome many problems before the automobile could become a practical mode of transportation. Steam and electric powered cars were developed, but they had limited range and recharging stations were hard to find. The gasoline powered automobile became the standard in 1908. It is estimated that cars account for over three trillion miles (five trillion kilometres) of road travel each year.

While the automobile has brought many benefits, it does have its disadvantages. It is responsible for widespread air pollution because gasoline burning produces harmful gases. These gases contribute to global warming, which has raised concerns among scientists and environmentalists. In order to reduce pollution, automobile manufacturers have started producing alternative fuel cars that run on biodiesel, hydrogen fuel cells or batteries. They have also introduced hybrids, which are cars that run on both gasoline and an alternative power source. Despite these concerns, the automobile continues to play a major role in society and will likely continue to do so for a long time. It is difficult to imagine how we could get around without these convenient vehicles.