Self-driving cars are not as new as you think. It may be hard to believe, but the world’s first self-driving car dates back to 1968! While it seems like self-driving cars are a thing of the 21st century, promising trials for self-driving cars date back to as early as the 1950’s and research on them to even earlier.
The German Web industry magazine T3N has an article about a test circuit and a test vehicle — a modified Mercedes Benz limousine of the time – set up by the German tire manufacturer Continental to test tires in a reproducible set of tests.
The self-driving mechanism is provided by a wire in the test track which sends and receives signals from the car. The wire also records data on the test runs on magnetic tape and other high-tech stuff available at that time. While the setup is fairly simplistic and the wire acts as a “guide” for the car, the trial implemented, in essence, a very basic concept of a self-driving car.
The film clip below shows the setup in action with a driver-less seat included. The setup has none of the complex software and artificial intelligent systems. However, it is still pretty impressive for its time and implements a very crude version of a driver-less car.
Who knew the concept of self-driving cars is over fifty years old?!