IHR Transport & Mobility History seminar – 14 January 2021

Dear All,

Hope you’re keeping well, especially under present conditions.

Next week sees the first of this term’s seminars in the Institute of Historical Research ‘Transport & Mobility History’ series – all are welcome, though you will need to book in advance.

The seminar (and all others for this term) will take place via Zoom. Once registered, you will be sent an email containing the link to the seminar ahead of the session. All are welcome.

Thursday 14 January 2021, 5.30pm

Georgina Lockton (Science Museum Group/ University of Leicester)

The Driverless Car in 1960s Britain

This paper examines the origins of the driverless car in Britain by taking an object-centred approach. I use the Road Research Laboratory’s Citroen DS19 as a case study, modified in the 1960s to run in a driverless mode. I discuss the method I devised for using objects as historical sources and apply it to the example of the DS19, which currently rests in the collections of the Science Museum, London. What can be learnt about the history of vehicle automation from looking directly at the car as an artefact and what can documentary sources add to the story? The paper answers these questions by providing a history of the driverless car, including how it worked and why vehicle automation was researched in Britain during the 1960s. 

Register here: https://www.history.ac.uk/events/driverless-car-1960s-britain

With best wishes for the new year,


Dr Mike Esbester


University of Portsmouth

Associate Editor, Journal of Transport History     @JTransportHist

Co-leader, ‘Railway Work, Life & Death’ project: www.railwayaccidents.port.ac.uk   @RWLDproject

Latest publication: ‘Digital Disasters: Crowd-sourcing the railway accident’ in Transport & its Place in History. Making the Connections (ed. D Turner, Routledge, 2020)

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