It was back in March of this year that we forst got a glimpse of the Google’s driverless car system. We saw a driverless car speeding around a rooftop car park and Google also confirmed it had tested it on the open road – but the company has now been granted a patent for an autonomous automobile making it one step closer to reality.
The patent is titled: “Transitioning a mixed-mode vehicle to autonomous mode” and while the language in the patent itself is quite dense to say the least, basically it means you’ll soon be seeing cars whizzing around Mountain View with Larry Page and Sergey Brin in the back seats and no one in the front seat.
Of course this may not happen any time soon but considering the speed at which the patent was granted (it was only applied for last May) then Google may not hang around in getting this up-and-running.
Of course there is not only the technical hurdles to overcome, but also the problems of getting the US government to approve of driverless cars on its roads – which may take some convincing.
One of the images (above) accompanying the patent shows a rather cartoonish car facing a giant QR code on the ground, which will probably trigger the automatic driving tech with another one then shutting it off at the end of the journey.
Are driverless cars the future? Let us know in the comments.