Science fiction author and essayist Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that civilisation could not survive for ten minutes without the car. Although the car could be improved, it was unlikely to be replaced by anything fundamentally different. Clarke wrote that the world had moved on wheels for 6,000 years, with an unbroken sequence from the ox cart to the Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz. He went on to wonder whether there is anyone still alive who can remember when the situation was otherwise, as the automobile has become so much part of the social world. According to Clarke, the car is an incredible device but one which no sane society would tolerate. It would cause a casual observer on a Monday morning or a Friday evening that they had entered a living hell.