The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the modern car. In that year, German inventor Karl Benz built the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, powered by an internal combustion engine. Today's automobiles are equipped with controls used for driving, parking, passenger comfort and safety, normally operated by the use of feet and hands, and occasionally by voice on 2000s-era cars. Controls are evolving in response to new technologies, for example the electric car and the integration of mobile communications.
Rapidly increasing oil prices, concerns about oil dependence, tightening environmental laws, and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions are propelling work on alternative power systems. This book takes a look at the development of cars since 1896 and speculates about the nature of the automobiles of the future.