Deciphering the bookish definition of automobile, we can claim it to be a self-propelled vehicle that is operated on the highways and is propelled by the use of motor vehicle fuel.
In a layman’s term, it is a motor vehicle that is designed or adapted mainly to carry individuals on highways, and has a seating capacity of not more than nine people including the driver.
The history of automobile dates back to the 18th century when a French engineer named Nicolas Joseph Cugnot was believed to have invented the first self-propelled automobile.In the beginning, steam powered vehicles were the talk of the town but were strenuous to maintain and reports of numerous boiler explosions kept them far from being the potential leaders as far as the automobile industries were concerned. Necessity being the mother of invention threw into picture a German engineer known by the name of Karl Benz who revolutionised the commercial automobile industry with gasoline powered internal combustion engines and changed the face and fate of automobile industry.
The onset of 20th century saw many automobile manufacturing units coming to life. In a first of its kind, the curved-dash Oldsmobile with three-horsepower engine was the first mass produced automobile with over 5000 units being consumed by 1904.
The United States car market economy was rattled by the arrival of model T car which managed to congregate a million users by the end of 1920. With its century defining invention, ford became the leader of the industry in the blink of an eye.
Meanwhile the British automobile industry was redefined by the assembly line production methods brought in by William Morris and Herbert Austin that saw the world’s first front mounted engine car and first compact car designed by the mentioned individuals respectively.
The period after the Second world war witnessed rapid developments in the automobile manufacturing techniques. The history of automobiles took a major turn with the invention of efficient fuel injection processes, independent suspensions and turbochargers. Pontiac Trans Am led the commercial market for about a decade before Computer Aided Design was introduced for designing of automobiles, making its debut with the Ford Taurus which became one of the best sellers of its time.
The start of 21st century accompanied the evolution of various software like Solid works and Ansys that graced the automobile designing circuit and have taken it to levels of astonishment and disbelieve with the production of absolute beasts’ among which Bugatti's La Voiture Noire, LamborghiniVeneno Roadster, FerrariPininfarina Sergio are few to be named.
The journey of automobiles from steam engine vehicles to software designed external/internal combustion engine vehicles has been that of pure excellence blended with the efforts of various engineers put in together for years thereby yielding not immediate but certainly accurate results. We have come a long way from automobiles being a luxury few years ago to an absolute necessity in today’s world.
By the theory of probability, we are around the bush for another century defining evolution that can, not only, change this industry but our lives as well.
Pic credits - Google Images