This week, news emerged of a self-driving car being researched by Google. It’s certainly not the first futuristic car to capture the popular imagination. The archives of magazines such as Popular Science and Popular Mechanics are littered with other cars that seemed like science fiction when first described in print—and still do today. We’ll talk about the Google efforts, and look back at other ‘cars of the future’ from years gone by that were designed guided by sound beams and magnets. What happened—or didn’t happen—to them?
Harry McCracken is the founder and editor of Technologizer and a columnist for TIME.com in San Francisco, California.