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Historical Events  Science
First self driving car

First self driving car?

MMDE: 1988

Current: 1968

More tech before it's time, and again this is related to cars. First we had the world's first car phone from 1910, then the world's first car to hit 100kph being electric in 1899 and finally the world's first traffic light being in 1868.

Now it's the world's first self-driving car, which, like these others, most people think are a relatively new invention. Think again - it happened in 1968.

The car is a heavilty modified Mercedes Benz 250 Automatic, and was developed as part of Continental's experimental automotive R&D in the 1960's - the "E-Auto".

The car is controlled by a wire on the roads surface, meaning the occupants didn't need to touch the steering wheel. Sensors in the vehicle could detect when it had veered off-track and make the correct steering changes needed to get it back. 

It was meant to test the tyres

The initial requirement was for a setup which could prescisely repeat the stresses and wear a vehicle was subjected to. This had many benefits - the initial one being to test tyres. Continental found many other uses for this system.

The car had automatic electro-mechanical steering, acceleration and reported the sensor reading remotely via radio. All these are the essentials of modern self driving cars.