Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The History Of Smart Cars

1939 GM shows off an "autonomous car"designs at its Futurama exhibit at the New York World's Fair.

1960 GM & RCA build a model "automated highway system" with underground circuits that communicate with cars.

1975 Morgantown,W.Va. creates the first "people mover" system with driver-less cars running in concrete guideways.

1982 David Hasselhoff fights crime on TV's Knight Rider with the help of KITT, a snobby Pontiac Trans Am.

1995 The global positioning system, an integral component in today's driverless cars, is officially turned on.

2003 Toyota shows off the first self-parking car.

2004 Darpa, the Pentagon agency that funds scientific reseach, hosts the first Grand Challenge driverless car race across the Mojave Desert.

2010 At Shanghai's World Expo, GM unveils its EN-V concept, a self-driving electric vehicle.

2010 "Your car should drive itself", says Google Eric Schmidt at a tech conference. It's amazing to me that we let humans drive.

2020 Expect the first autonomous vehicles to hit the streets within a decade, say's Thilo Koslowski, an industry analyst with Gartner.

        To avoid that future, car companies have to start thinking of themselves as being in the "transportation services" business. The one that says we're in the car manufacturing and sales business are not going to survive the big disruptive transition that is clearly coming. Automakers are already adding features that cede some of a driver's control to computers in the name of safety or convenience. Features available in some luxury cars, such as cruise control that uses sensors to maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles or automatic parallel parking, are indicators of an industry starting to think about how we drive, not just what we drive.

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