30 Jul STEERING TOWARDS TOMORROW: A FUTURE OF CARS SPEAKER TALKS EVs, SELF-DRIVING AUTOS, AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES
Fun fact: You don’t have to have to be a future of cars speaker or practicing futurist to understand just how rapidly the automotive industry is changing. From EVs and self-driving cars to connected in-dash entertainment and autonomous vehicles of all kinds, countless new future trends and innovations are evolving before our eyes. But how did we get here exactly in terms of new technology advancements? Just ask a future of cars speaker – here’s a quick take on the history of the self-driving automobile.
- 1920s – GM proposes a radio-controlled driverless car. Early autonomous concepts emerge but lack technical feasibility.
- 1950s – RCA labs and Carnegie Mellon University work on self-driving car research, focusing on road edge and wire following.
- 1980s – Mercedes-Benz and Bundeswehr University Munich build the first autonomous van using cameras and sensors. Per future of cars speakers, it can drive up to 60 miles per hour.
- 1987 – Navlab at Carnegie Mellon equip a minivan with cameras and sensors to autonomously drive coast-to-coast across the United States.
- 1995 – Pomerleau Autonomous Land Vehicle uses neural networks for autonomous steering. Developed at Carnegie Mellon.
- 2004 – DARPA Grand Challenges accelerate autonomous tech from future of cars speakers’ viewpoint by staging competitions for driverless cars in desert and urban settings.
- 2009 – Google announces its self-driving car project that later becomes Waymo. Their early cars use LIDAR sensors and road mapping.
- 2014 – Tesla releases autopilot hardware allowing Model S to steer, accelerate and brake automatically under driver supervision.
- 2016 – Uber launches its self-driving rideshare service in Pittsburgh using Ford Fusions and Volvo SUVs.
- 2018 – Waymo becomes the first company to offer a commercial public ride-hailing service using driverless technology in Phoenix, Arizona.
- Today – Major companies like Tesla, GM’s Cruise, Apple, Waymo, Uber continue to advance and test self-driving cars. However, challenges around safety regulations and consumer acceptance remain as future of cars speakers often point out.
Put it all together, and you can see that after early research in the 20th century, major commercialization efforts began in the 2000s led by tech companies. While great progress has been made, self-driving cars are still maturing towards full Level 5 autonomy.