Google have earned a patent for driverless car technology which means a computer system can completely take over control of a vehicle from the human driver.
The technology appears to be an enhanced version of cruise control, a firm favourite for many luxury cars owners. The new Google system uses web functionality to control the car, removing manual control from the human driver.
The patent image shows code embedded into the road in front of the vehicle. Once the vehicle passes over this code (or reference indicator) then the car can take over the driving controls, such as braking, acceleration and steering. The full patent can be seen over here.
It reads “Disclosed are methods and devices for transitioning a mixed-mode autonomous vehicle from a human driven mode to an autonomously driven mode. 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.
Additionally, the vehicle may use the reference indictor to obtain an autonomous vehicle instruction via a URL. After the vehicle knows its precise location and has an autonomous vehicle instruction, it can operate in autonomous mode.”
This subject has been an area of interest for Google chief Larry Page. He said “It’s an area that I’ve had some interest in since I was a grad student. It seemed pretty practical actually, I mean you think that driving a car is hard but it is not actually that hard for a computer if [it] has good data about what’s about it.”
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