The idea of self-driving vehicles dates back much further than Google’s research or Tesla’s beta releases in the present day. In fact, the concept of an autonomous car dates back to Futurama, an exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. General Motors created the exhibit to display its vision of what the world would look like in a couple of decades, and this vision included an automated highway system that would guide self-driving cars.
While a world filled with robotic vehicles isn’t yet a reality, the automotive industry has much progressed into 21st century with the emerging applications of internet of things (IoT) and computerized cars. Many cars today already have autonomous features like assisted parking and braking systems.
Research into self-driving cars began in 1980s, when the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University developed NavLab in 1986. In 2009, Google started its self-driving car project led by Sebastian Thrun.