Google awarded driverless car patent

Google is building a patent portfolio in driverless car technology. In December, the US Patent Office awarded Patent 8078349 for transitioning a car from human-driven to autonomous mode. A key problem which this patent solves is to ensure that the car knows its precise location when switching into autonomous mode. GPS may not be precise enough for the vehicle to understand where it is (it may only be accurate by 10 meters) and to determine the direction it should take. Therefore Google proposes using markings called landing strips – which may be embedded in the road. The human driver stops the car on a landing strip which the car then detects and uses to determine its location. Landing strips may even contain an embedded QR-code. But landing strips need not be marked on the ground. They may consist of recognizable well defined locations which a car can detect by examining its surroundings and for which it can look up the data in a database or online. An example could be a conventional, clearly marked parking spot.

The patent also addresses additional issues of providing instructions to the autonomous car when switching to autonomous mode. This could include instructions to move to a different location where the car is needed or to proceed to a service station for maintenance.

2 thoughts on “Google awarded driverless car patent

  1. Two google cars traleving together, do they share their vision with each other and therefore have an even better understanding of events going on around it? What about a pack of cars traleving together, will they move in unison like a school of fish?

    • The History of : information hitorsy An automobile powered by a Otto gasoline engine was built in Germany by in 1885 and granted a patent in the following year. Although several other engineers (including Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach and Siegfried Marcus) were working on the problem at about the same time, Benz is generally credited with the invention of the modern automobile.The large-scale, production-line manufacturing of affordable automobiles was debuted by Ransom Eli Olds at his Oldsmobile factory in 1902. This assembly line concept was then greatly expanded by Henry Ford in the 1910s. Development of automotive technology was rapid, due in part to the hundreds of small manufacturers competing to gain the world’s attention. Key developments included electric ignition and the electric self-starter (both by Charles Kettering, for the Cadillac Motor Company in 1910-1911), independent suspension, and four-wheel brakes.Although various pistonless rotary engine designs have attempted to compete with the conventional piston and crankshaft design, only Mazda’s version of the Wankel engine has had more than very limited success.Since the 1920s, nearly all cars have been mass-produced to meet market needs, so marketing plans have often heavily influenced automobile design. It was Alfred P. Sloan who established the idea of different makes of cars produced by one company, so that buyers could move up as their fortunes improved. The makes shared parts with one another so that the larger production volume resulted in lower costs for each price range. For example, in the 1950s, Chevrolet shared hood, doors, roof, and windows with Pontiac; the LaSalle of the 1930s, sold by Cadillac, used the cheaper mechanical parts made by the Oldsmobile divisionSource: