The first working steam-powered vehicle was designed—and most likely built—by Ferdinand Verbiest, a Flemish member of a Jesuit mission in China around 1672.
It was a 65-cm-long scale-model toy for the Chinese Emperor that was unable to carry a driver or a passenger.
Cars were rapidly adopted in the US, where they replaced animal-drawn carriages and carts, but took much longer to be accepted in Western Europe and other parts of the world.
Cars have controls for driving, parking, passenger comfort and safety, and controlling a variety of lights.
In 1879, Benz was granted a patent for his first engine, which had been designed in 1878.
Many of his other inventions made the use of the internal combustion engine feasible for powering a vehicle.
Cars came into global use during the 20th century, and developed economies depend on them.
Road traffic accidents are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide.
The societal benefits include economic benefits, such as job and wealth creation from the automotive industry, transportation provision, societal well-being from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the taxes.
The ability for people to move flexibly from place to place has far-reaching implications for the nature of societies.
Cars did not become widely available until the early 20th century.
One of the first cars that was accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company.