In mid 1950’s Mercedes - Unimog in cooperation with Universität Stuttgart began testing the feasibility of unmanned autonomous utility vehicle. The first prototype was ready by the end of 1959, and was successfully tested on a 20 km long test track.
After additional few years of testing, 565 SB was ready for production in 1963.
The location of vehicle was calculated using data provided by complex ground radar system, IR camera, motion detection unit, and air pressure differences. The data was fed into an on-board computer that ultimately controlled complex hydro-pneumatic steering system.
565 SB was extremely successful, what (rather ironically) proved to be the downfall of the project. Automatization meant that thousands of workers lost their jobs, approaching 50.000 by some estimates.
That didn’t fare well with Trade Unions and in 1967 a massive strike organized by IG Metall ultimately sealed the fate of 565 SB.
Around 32.000 uaLkws were built from 1963 to 1967.