Google loves its green transportation projects. They have invested in the Shweeb, and over the past year have been developing a self-driving car. In March, Google successfully performed a test drive with a Prius racing around a car parking lot roof, but in August the technology hit a roadblock when it was blamed for a car accident. Now it seems that the company has ironed out the vehicle’s flaws, and Google has just been awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,078,349 for methods and devices for “Transitioning a Mixed-mode Autonomous Vehicle from a Human Driven Mode to an Autonomously Driven Mode“– aka, the driverless car!
The fast-tracked patent application was reportedly filed last May, but was kept on the low-down at the Internet giant’s request. Google has said in the past that their self-driving technology will also assist cars in making “split second decisions such as avoiding obstacles like deer that may venture into the road. ”
It is hoped that the technology will double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely, while also reducing carbon costs and fuel consumption by driving as efficiently as possible. Other, similar concepts for self-driving cars include one being developed by SARTRE, a company that is experimenting with a ‘car platoon’ concept.