A steerable, tendon-driven endoscope is described herein. The endoscope has an elongated body with a manually or selectively steerable distal portion and an automatically controlled, segmented proximal portion. The steerable distal portion and the segment of the controllable portion are actuated by at least two tendons. As the endoscope is advanced, the user maneuvers the distal portion, and a motion controller actuates tendons in the segmented proximal portion so that the proximal portion assumes the selected curve of the selectively steerable distal portion. By this method the selected curves are propagated along the endoscope body so that the endoscope largely conforms to the pathway selected. When the endoscope is withdrawn proximally, the selected curves can propagate distally along the endoscope body. This allows the endoscope to negotiate tortuous curves along a desired path through or around and between organs within the body.