Google Patents Transition To Autonomous Driving For Cars

We have heard quite a bit about Google’s autonomous cars driving around in California. A patent approved by the USPTO yesterday provides more detail on these cars and the technology they may use. The patent #8,078,349, filed on May 11 of this year, specifically refers to the event when a mixed-mode car is enabled to transition from a human driver to an autonomous mode…
To develop this technology, Google employs some of the smartest minds in the industry. It is not really surprising to see Christopher Urmson and Nathaniel Fairfield listed among the inventors: Both joined Google from Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute. Urmson was the technical leader of the Tartan racing team, which won the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge: Their “Boss” vehicle, a heavily modified Chevy Tahoe, completed a 55 mile urban course in 4 hours and 10 minutes and won the $2 million prize of the competition. Also listed among the inventors is Nathan Fairfiled, also from Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, who worked on sonar data for navigation in 3D environments at the university.