Brilliant videos: Autonomous driving in 1971 & Navi without GPS but with a cassette

Autonomous driving was so easy to imagine in 1971. Also: A navigation system without GPS – instead with a music cassette! Two video classics that are absolutely worth seeing!

The autonomously driving car only makes slow progress, no vehicle, no matter how expensive, can currently drive longer distances under any environmental/traffic conditions and in any weather without human intervention. At best, manageable passages on well-developed roads such as motorways or slowly gliding along in traffic jams are currently possible autonomously. But here, too, the driver must be able to take control of the car within a specified period of time after receiving a message from his vehicle. In addition, a person must be behind the steering wheel at all times. Given the slow pace of development of the autonomous car, the optimism in a BBC report dated May 18, 1971 is striking. The 3:50 minute video presents three future transportation technologies, the last of which is about the driverless car.

The video does not go into the many technical details that a fully autonomous car needs, but at least one thing is clear: radar technology should be the eyes of the autonomous car. A huge box is attached in front of the bumper for this purpose. This allows the car to “see” the traffic in front of it. The video does not go into how it looks when you look backwards and to the side. However, that does not prevent the BBC reporter from sitting in the back seat of the car at the end of the video, which then drives off without people in the driver and passenger seats. On top of that, the costs for an autonomous vehicle are described as comparatively cheap. All very optimistic…

All PC-WELT car tests at a glance

Navigation system without GPS, instead with music cassette

Another BBC video from October 15, 1971 presents a rather rustic version of a navigation system. Completely without GSP satellites. Instead, an audio cassette is at the heart of the navigation system, along with a small “control unit”. This curious BBC video shows how this original navigation system should work, in which the BBC reporter enthusiastically describes his music cassette-based navigation solution – and then experiences a funny-nasty surprise at the end of the video!

PS The video is also a treat for fans of air-cooled Volkswagens. Just the sound of the engine…

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