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Friday
Dec162011

Self Driving Into The Future

Google Receives Patent For Robot Car

There's been a lot of buzz about Google's self driving car.  And why not?  It's a cool concept, but also has major implications for the future of cars. 

This week, Google took a big step forward in the project; they were granted an official patent for a method of contolling an autonomous vehicle.  Specifically, it details how a vehicle can transition from being human-driven to autonomous mode.  

A car could theoretically drive to a given location and based on a visual indicator on a "landing strip," such as a bar code or radio tag, the car would then transition to autonomous operation. One could imagine, for example, bringing a car to a roadway dedicated to autonomous vehicles where the transition would take place.

No surprise the car they're working with is the Toyota Prius.  Toyota is known for their forward thinking and innovation.  

“Our automated cars have driven across the Golden Gate bridge, navigated the Pacific Coast Highway, and even made it all the way around Lake Tahoe,” wrote engineer Sebastian Thrun in an official blog posting. 

Thurn also said that safety has been the company's first priority on this project.  He said that the cars were never unmanned, there was a trained safety driver in the car during all test runs. 

Exciting stuff huh?  Stay tuned for further news on the subject! 

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