People in developed countries all over the world have come to see automobiles as the preferred way to travel. They allow independence: point to point transportation without having to rely on others to get where we want to go, to do what we want to do. Long range travel and short range travel can be undertaken whenever one desires, either alone or with other people. Citizens of the modern world must often wonder how people ever lived without automobiles. To think that human beings once traveled everywhere by foot or on horseback is not just a humorous idea to reminisce; it is foreign concept that would not allow the social and business culture of today to exist.
It is almost as foreign a concept that early automobiles were driven by steam. The challenge of steam engines was making them small, but still powerful enough to provide enough power to move more than themselves. In addition, these engines burned coal, a messy, inefficient fuel.1
With the invention of the internal combustion engine came a long line of innovations around the world that led us to the automobiles we enjoy today.
Along the way, automobiles have become an essential part of life for many people in the United States. Their operation and usefulness have also become commonplace; something most people take for granted, without any knowledge of the years of innovation that led to the automobiles we enjoy today.
Dangers of Driving
With the convenience of driving comes many risks. Automobiles are heavy, powerful objects moving at rapid rates. When they collide with each other or other objects, enormous unfavorable forces come into play. The composition of the human body is not designed to fend against mishaps that can occur with such machi...
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... and the General Estimates System (Washington, DC: <http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/TSFAnn/TSF2001.pdf>) i. [back to text]
4. Inventor Profile: Nils Bohlin, 2002, National Inventor’s Hall of Fame, 28 Feb. 2004, <http://www.invent.org/hall%5Fof%5Ffame/179.html>. [back to text]
5. Technical Recruitment, 2004, Volvo, 28 Feb. 2004, <http://www.volvocars.us/_Tier3/AboutUs/Technical+Recruitment/>. [back to text]
6. Volvo Safety Center, 2004, Volvo, 28 Feb. 2004, <http://www.volvocars.us/_Tier2/WhyVolvo/Safety/SafetyCentre.htm>. [back to text]
7. Volvo Saved My Life, 2004, Volvo, 28 Feb. 2004, <http://www.volvocars.us/_Tier2/WhyVolvo/Safety/VolvoSavedMyLife.htm>. [back to text]
8. Autoliv, Inc, 2003, Illustrations, 1 March 2004, <http://www.autoliv.com/Appl_ALV/Download.nsf/pages/libraryillustrations>. [back to text]
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