In a race between two driverless cars in Buenos Aires last month¹, a misjudged manoeuvre led to one of the AI-controlled vehicles hitting a barrier. This was one motor accident, however, that was welcomed. “It’s actually fantastic for us,” said the developers, “because the more we see these moments the more we are able to learn and understand what was the thinking behind the computer and its data.” They added that thankfully, the lack of a driver meant no one was hurt.

That race may have ended in pieces for one car, but the quest for fully autonomous vehicles certainly isn’t going to crash and burn. This infographic by Get Off Road maps the journey of discovery for autonomous cars, right from the nascent vision in the 1920s through to the technology behind today’s models. The number of players and patents in this space are evidence that competition levels run high; expect to see plenty of models launched in the coming years.

Infographic: The race to autonomous cars