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From the previous thread the 'man who invented the self-driving car (in 1986)'

In the late 1990s, Dickmanns turned overseas and signed a four-year-contract with the United States’ Army Research Lab.

The cooperation led to another generation of self-driving cars, which were able to navigate more complicated surfaces; its results — published around the time Dickmanns retired — caught the eye of Darpa, the Pentagon’s emerging technologies division. It inspired the agency to launch a series of “challenges,” starting in 2004, tasking inventors with sending self-driving cars racing through spectacular territory.

Those challenges, promoted by massive marketing campaigns, were the first time a broad public heard about autonomous driving. They made German-born computer scientist Sebastian Thrun — who won the challenge in 2005 as a Stanford University professor and later founded Google’s self-driving team — a celebrity in the AI community.

As it happens, I watched the videos of those DARPA challenges. What it comes down to is that Waymo is indebted to this forgotten man who did so much to make an autonomous vehicle possible.
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