SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
In 1769 the French Engineer Cugnot designed the first ever mechanically propelled road vehicle which was used at the Paris Arsenal to haul artillery. It ran on three wheels with a steam engine and boiler attached at the front of the vehicle. The single front wheel was powered by a two-cylinder steam engine. It reached a speed of 4 kms an hour. There were no brakes and the rack and pinion steering made the vehicle unwieldy. It is reported that it crashed into a stone wall in 1771, the first motor vehicle accident in history. The project was discontinued but this vehicle can be considered to be the progenitor of the modern motor vehicle.
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