Google Gets Patent For Driverless Car Technology

Google has just won the patent for the technology for driverless cars. It has been Google’s dream project for a long time now and it had filed the application for this patent May this year.

The patent application is titled Transitioning a Mixed-Mode Vehicle to Autonomous Mode, which refers to the technology adapted to the switch of controls from the hands of a human to being automatic.

One of the prototype cars. (Courtesy: Google)

Knowing where it is

The car would know its location via Internet services, which depend on GPS. Once at a parking space, a landing stripwould tell the car ‘brain’ where acceptable parking spots lie. The patent says:

the landing strip may indicate to the vehicle that it is parked in a region where it may transition into autonomous mode.

GPS will help the car know its approximate location, after which it can use its sensors to feel its way around for trees, bushes and other vehicles and humans.

A prototype of a driverless car.

Google’s long term dream

It can also be programmed to wait for a specific amount of time at a specific location say 15 minutes at the local bar.  The patent says:

Transitioning may include stopping a vehicle on a predefined landing strip and detecting a reference indicator. Based on the reference indicator, the vehicle may be able to know its exact position.  

Though much less known than its monarchical search engine, Google also has a fleet of cars, which can drive around in city traffic and has been the banner of demonstration of how successful driverless car technology can be!

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Debjyoti Bardhan

Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.