Who Started the Driverless Car Era

Large car manufacturers forecast different dates for launching autonomous vehicles: GM promises to show the first one in 2019, Ford in 2021. Who knows, maybe the next time you order your paper at https://newtonessay.com/write-my-essay outside the windows of your house there will be a bunch of cars driving without human’s help. Still, today this situation is hard to swallow. But many people still believe that everything started with the first Google car launched on the streets in 2009 and that became Waymo project in 2016. However, people were searching for the ways of disposing of the human role in a car driving long before Waymo.

Three vehicles, three dates

The first vehicle that didn’t require direct contact of human is a brainchild of Leonardo Torres-Quevedo. It resembled a tricycle and it was created in 1904.

1921 was marked by an appearance of radio-controlled three-wheeled coffin-like concept that didn’t resemble the car fit for any passenger. Its first voyage was made in Dayton, Ohio and had military origins.

However, the most well-known show that gave the go-ahead to the era of driverless car took place in 1925. Then and there electrical engineer Fransic P. Houdina invented a set of electric motors that managed movement and speed of an automobile and were controlled by a radio signals sent from the following car.


“American Wonder”, the new creation of Houdina on the basis of Chevrolet was presented on Broadway in 1925. The vehicle turned, sped up and slowed down and honked horn and managed to maneuver in a huge traffic. This car, as well as all other cars of Houdina were called “magical” and even the crash of the first car, that, ironically, crashed right into the car with journalists could not spoil the fame of these vehicles.

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In 1932 such car called “Phantom Auto” appeared in Virginia, on the Bigger Bargain Day event in Fredericksburg and was named “one of the most amazing products of the modern science” by the journalists of the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. After that these vehicles were used in safe driving campaigns, for example, in Chevrolet 1935 care safety film.

Houdina vs. Houdini

The era of the first remote control cars coincided with the era of Harry Houdini – and taking into consideration similar surnames of the magicians that caused a lot of troubles. The main one was that Houdina received a part of Houdini’s mail and that became the reason of the arrest of the popular magician. He and his secretary had broken to the office of Houdina, broke an electric chandelier with a chair charged with disorderly conduct afterwards.

Later on the fame of remote control vehicles went up in smoke, yet, the story had started. And it shows clearly that since the appearance of the first car on the roads we duly appreciated the possibility of autonomous driving.