How long have self-driving cars been in development?
I’m amazed by the advancements in autonomous cars, but I don’t know much about their history. How long have automakers been developing self-driving cars?
Eric Schad · Answered on Dec 12, 2022
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Although companies like Tesla have become synonymous with autonomous vehicles in recent years, self-driving cars have been in development since the 1930s.
Technically, GM developed the first self-driving car for the 1939 World’s Fair, but this technology was more akin to a remote-controlled car. Further developments took place in the decades after, but the 1980s truly ushered in the era of modern self-driving cars.
In 1984, Carnegie Mellon University developed a self-driving car with the NavLab project. Three years later, Bundeswehr University and Mercedes-Benz collaborated on another self-driving car project. Today, almost every major automaker has self-driving cars in development with a target date of selling the vehicles somewhere between 2026 and 2030.
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