Google has a lot of self-driving cars which are driven lot of miles but still no commercial use of them has been launched. But there are rumors that Google is developing an autonomous ride sharing network to compete with Uber. Recently Google filed a patent to efficiently determine destinations and pickup locations for self-deriving cars.
Google is aiming to operate the self-driving cars in a fully autonomous mode where passengers provide some initial input, such as a pick up or destination location, and the vehicle maneuvers itself to that location. However, not all locations are accessible or safe for a passenger pick up, for the vehicle to stop and wait for a passenger to perform some task and return to the vehicle, or for the vehicle to drop off a passenger. For example, autonomous vehicles may not be able to drive everywhere a human driven vehicle can.
In addition, road conditions such as construction, emergency services activity, and speed limits can pose problems for autonomous vehicles and safety issues for picking up or dropping off passengers. This patent application addresses this problem. When provided with a location, a centralized dispatching system provides a set of suggested locations corresponding to locations that an autonomous vehicle can pick up a passenger (pickup location) or locations where the vehicle can wait for an additional passenger, stop and wait for a passenger to perform some task and return to the vehicle, or for the vehicle to drop off a passenger.
However, Uber has its own smaller fleet of self-driving cars that its been using to pick up and drop off select groups of passengers in Pittsburgh. Eventually,Google and Uber may be in direct competition in the ride-hailing market, but for now, these two companies are finding new ways to evolve their market of autonomous driving.
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