Most autonomous vehicle projects made use of stock cars and modified them, adding “smart”hardware to create automated cars. The advantage of using stock cars is the ease of obtaining thecar through sponsors. The stocks cars help convey the message autonomous vehicles are notscience fiction anymore and these systems can be implemented on normal cars.
An early representation of the driverless car was Norman Bel Geddes's Futurama exhibitsponsored by General Motors at the 1933 World's Fair, which depicted electric cars powered bycircuits embedded in the roadway and controlled by radio.The history of autonomous vehicles starts in 1977 with the Tsukuba Mechanical EngineeringLab in Japan. On a dedicated, clearly marked course it achieved speeds of up to 30 km/h (20miles per hour), by tracking white street markers (special hardware was necessary, sincecommercial computers were much slower than they are today).In the 1980s a vision-guided Mercedes-Benz robot van, designed by Ernst Dickmanns and histeam at the Bundeswehr University of Munich in Munich, Germany, achieved 100 km/h onstreets without traffic. Subsequently, the European Commission began funding the 800 millionEuro EUREKA Prometheus Project on autonomous vehicles (1987–1995).Also in the 1980s the DARPA-funded Autonomous Land Vehicle (ALV) in the United Statesachieved the first road-following demonstration that used laser radar (Environmental ResearchInstitute of Michigan), computer vision (Carnegie Mellon University and SRI), and autonomousrobotic control (Carnegie Mellon and Martin Marietta) to control a driverless vehicle up to30 km/h. In 1987, HRL Laboratories (formerly Hughes Research Labs) demonstrated the firstoff-road map and sensor-based autonomous navigation on the ALV. The vehicle travelled over 600m at 3 km/h on complex terrain with steep slopes, ravines, large rocks, and vegetation.In 1994, the twin robot vehicles VaMP and Vita-2 of Daimler-Benz and Ernst Dickmanns of UniBwM drove more than one thousand kilometers on a Paris three-lane highway in standardheavy traffic at speeds up to 130 km/h, albeit semi-autonomously with human interventions.
DEPARTMENT OF ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS ENGINEERING, VBITPage 3