The automotive industry produces a broad spectrum of self-propelled motor vehicles, ranging from trucks and cars to motorcycles. While one driver buys a basic automobile to simply drive to work and run errands, another driver is only satisfied with a sleek sports sedan to speed through city traffic. A third driver chooses an SUV to transport the family on a rural or seaside vacation. This Automotive Portfolio features a series of automotive-themed videos.
The invention of the gasoline-powered internal combustion engine, in the early 1860s, led to the development of the modern motorcar. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were about 25,000 cars on the road; today, approximately one car exists for every 10 people on planet Earth. Automobiles have benefited society by giving people the freedom to travel quickly and independently. However, their reliance on fossil fuels has brought air pollution problems as well as conflict over limited crude oil supplies. As a result, the auto industry has gradually developed more fuel-efficient cars and trucks. Some of these new designs use hybrid fuels; others use electric battery power. To save even more fuel, some people ride motorcycles or scooters.
Cars have been designed in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Every year, the designers are busy at their CAD stations seeking new designs to outdo the competition. More and more features are added. Today's cars have sensors that beep if there is an obstruction behind them. They have built-in GPS systems, satellite radio, and various comfort management dials. CD players keep the children occupied, and power outlets let them plug in all sorts of gizmos for their entertainment. Seats contain boosters to strap children into, and some seats even fold flat to provide maximum space for shopping bags, moving boxes, and vacation coolers.
Going forward, the automotive industry constantly strives to design more fuel efficient vehicles so that less pollution is puffed into the atmosphere. In the future, industry pundits even envision cars that navigate and drive themselves!