The Truth of Fully Autonomous Cars

It may surprise you more than you think!

Courtesy of; Owned by thekirbster

Courtesy of; Owned by “thekirbster”

By: Victor Cao, Journalist

The History

Self-driving cars have been a concept for far longer than just Tesla’s current development. In fact, a display at the 1939 New York World’s Fair is where the idea of an autonomous vehicle first appeared. The exhibit was designed by General Motors to show its view on the potential over the next 20 years to reduce accidents and congestion. Even if this vision still isn’t a reality, many modern cars include technology-based developments, such as braking and parking assistance. Autonomous vehicles are still being developed with the goal of making cars safer and easier in the coming decades.

In GM’s exhibition, an American industrial designer named Norman Bel Geddes developed a surreal experience: a car on a track that went through several levels of the pavilion and extended over one-third of a mile, named the Futurama. The Futurama used radio-controlled electromagnetic fields generated by magnetized metal spikes in the roadway. Nineteen years later, RCA, working with GM, developed a model: a 400-foot length of automated highway equipped with electronic circuits in the pavement.

In 1977, a Japanese company improved this idea, using a camera and then sending it to a computer. This car could only travel at speeds under 20 MPH though, but as technology improved, maximum speeds gradually increased over time, to the current stage of autonomous cars..

How it Works:

There are many different ways autonomous cars can operate. A popular method is this, the use of ultrasonic sensors, which send signals to sophisticated software that processes them. After being processed, instructions will be sent to a car’s actuators, which control the car’s movements, such as acceleration and braking. Cameras are another important attribute of a functioning car. Video cameras detect pedestrians, stop signs, and traffic lights, allowing the driver to lose the need to watch out for obstacles.

Are Autonomous Cars a Reality?

Although autonomous cars have been speculated about for decades, many leading companies, such as Tesla, have realized the difficulties. Elon Musk stated, “Didn’t expect it to be so hard, but the difficulty is obvious in retrospect.” Small functions that benefit the driver have been added, but all cars still require the driver to be alert at all times. There are five different levels of autonomous cars, driving assistance, partial driving automation, conditional driving automation, high driving automation, and full driving automation.  In the modern day, the furthest advanced car is only stage three, but many experts in the field have believed that stage 5 autonomous cars won’t arrive for another decade.

Related Articles:

Jamesroberts. “When Will Fully Autonomous Vehicles Become a Reality?” Autovista24, 30 Aug. 2022,

Keith Darlington AI Consultant and author Estimated reading time Time 7 to read, et al. “Fully Autonomous Cars. Will They Become a Reality?” OpenMind, 3 Dec. 2020,

“When Self-Driving Cars Are Coming, for Real.” Yahoo! News, Yahoo!,

Tangermann, Victor. “Watch Elon Musk Promise Self-Driving Cars ‘next Year’ Every Year since 2014.” Futurism, Futurism, 19 Jan. 2022,

Nelson, Brooke. “How Self-Driving Cars Will Change the Roads.” Reader’s Digest, Reader’s Digest, 18 Nov. 2022,