Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Closer Than We Think! Magic Beam Highway (1961)

This Closer Than We Think! strip ran in the October 15, 1961 Chicago Tribune.


The government may soon build an automatic highway, on which drivers can look the other way while electronic controls pilot their cars.

One type of robot road has already been demonstrated by General Motors and RCA. Guidance strips and loops in the pavement receive electric impulses which are picked up electronically by a control box on your car. The impulses regulate direction, speed, braking and obstacle detection - so the car can be guided automatically, without possibility of accident. All you need do is take over when your car gets to the end of the automated section!

A 100-mile test route may be operating by 1964, say Washington reports, and major highway robot systems may be in use by 1975.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Closer Than We Think! Monoline Express (1961)
GM's Three-Wheeled Runabout (1966)
GM Car of the Future (1962)
Automobiles of the Future (1966)
Sports Car of Tomorrow (1966)
Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
The Future World of Transportation

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Man... I want my autopilot....

Nancy Toby said...

I want my damn flying car. They promised that to me too.

Wutzke said...

This is one frequent prediction that I'm curious why it never happened. I mean, who wants to talk on a videophone and be unable to make faces, yawn, multitask, etc.; and flying cars (and jetpacks) just have really high energy requirements that we haven't cracked yet. But the basic technology for automated highways seems to be there; it's just not implemented.

Matthew said...

The early automated-highway designs involved enormous amounts of expensive infrastructure installed along the highway. I also wonder whether the automation could have been up to dealing with unexpected road hazards--if not, the road would have to be scrupulously maintained in a very labor-intensive way.

I think this is eventually coming; the key ingredients are GPS and Moore's Law.