Throwback Thursday: Today’s Technology Drives Yesterday’s Cars into Tomorrow

Four: that’s the number of states where autonomous cars can currently legally operate. The legislation seems a bit premature at first. After all, Google’s $150,000 driver-less vehicle is not yet on the market, and even so, is this really technology that will drive us into the future? Actually, as it turns out, driver-less (also known as autonomous or automated) cars have been around (at least the prototypes) since before sliced bread. This Throwback Thursday, we’ll take a look at the progress of driver-less cars.

Who would have of thought that driver-less cars would be a thing of the past? Since the 1920s, engineers have been playing with the idea of a driver-less car. And in 1925 this curiosity produced a radio-controlled car named the Linrrican Wonder. The driver-less car was equipped with a transmitting antenna that sent signals through a remote control. The receiving antenna then signaled a small circuit breaker in the car that managed the vehicle’s every movement. Basically, the Linrrican Wonder was a real-life remote controlled car that traveled up Broadway and across Fifth Avenue in Manhattan; (‘90s kids everywhere wish they had that to play around with). But that experiment was just the first step in this exciting venture.

Several other prototypes have arisen in almost every decade since, and in the 1980s Mercedes-Benz in collaboration with Bundeswehr University Munich built a driver-less car as well. The project, named the EUREKA Prometheus Project, resulted in a prototype autonomous car. Since then significant technological advances and research funding have led other companies like Google to create and actually use the prototypes around their company campuses.

According to CNN, GPS inventor Bradford Parkinson has figured out a way to take the work out of driving (and perhaps the fun out of vehicles for people who like to cruise). This new technology alongside of a very sophisticated GPS system will allow drivers to become passengers in their own car. It’s a tad more sophisticated then the Linrrican Wonder. Can you say full-time chauffeur, DD and ability to text while riding solo? These cars would be operating in constant communication with each other, knowing where it’s driving, whether other cars are too close or if driving conditions are dangerous. Recently, Google has had the chance to test drive these cars. In 2012, California legalized self-driving vehicles requiring the California Department of Motor Vehicles to come up with a way of regulating these rad cars by the beginning of 2015. Experts are predicting that driver-less cars will be available for consumers as early as 2016. I wonder if Geico can save me 15% or more on that car insurance (especially if these cars drive anything like K.A.R.R. or K.I.T.T.).

 

 

Cover Photo Source: Krivosheev Vitaly / Shutterstock.com

Jessica is a Junior Executive at SJG. She graduated from Roosevelt University with a BA in IMC & Advertising. Ella habla español et un peu du français. In her spare time she likes to make ads, travel and Netflix binge.  The day Friends ended was one of the saddest days of her life.