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Businesses Patents Transportation

Amazon Patent Hints at Self-Driving Car Plans (theguardian.com) 28

Amazon is working on self-driving cars, according to a new patent that deals with the complex task of navigating reversible lanes. From a report on The Guardian: The patent, filed in November 2015 and granted on Tuesday, covers the problem of how to deal with reversible lanes, which change direction depending on the bulk of the traffic flow. This type of lane is typically used to manage commuter traffic into and out of cities, particularly in the US. Autonomous vehicles, the patent warns, "may not have information about reversible lanes when approaching a portion of a roadway that has reversible lane", leading to a worst-case scenario of them driving headfirst into oncoming traffic. More generally, the inability to plan for reversible lanes means cars and trucks can't optimize their routes by getting into the correct lane well in advance, something that could otherwise prove to be one of the benefits of self-driving cars. Amazon's solution to the problem could have much larger ramifications than simply dealing with highway traffic in large cities. The patent proposes a centralized roadway management system that can communicate with multiple self-driving cars to exchange information and coordinate vehicle movement at a large scale.
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Amazon Patent Hints at Self-Driving Car Plans

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  • centralized roadway management = new car 3-4 years as software updates may stop after 2-3 years and do you really want to pay $2K-5K to update your car's computer at the dealer?

  • by Plumpaquatsch ( 2701653 ) on Thursday January 19, 2017 @04:47PM (#53698815) Journal
    The car costs $500, but you'll have to deliver goods for Amazon on your way?
    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      No, giant OLED panels on the outside of your car and on the interior of the windshield. It's $500 with ads, $50,000 without.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It costs $500 but the shipping is $40,000 unless you buy a 12 pack to qualify for free super saver delivery, or have an Amazon Prime account.

  • Not actually the cars themselves. Road management system...not car driving system.
  • If you buy an Amazon Car, you get Amazon Prime movies to watch whilst the car drives you around. If you tell it to drive to Walmart, it will take you to one of the new Amazon brick and Mortar stores instead, free of charge.

  • If existing self-driving car technology is unable to cope with the concept of reversible lanes, then it suggests they cannot read road signs, in which case reversible lanes is the least of anyone's worries - road works, temporary diversions, etc, are also going to be a problem.

  • Because someone will insist it gets connected to the public internet to make their personal lives easier.

  • Amazon doesn't want to sell cars to consumers. They do, however, want to make their logistics as efficient as possible. Think autonomous inter and intra city transport.

    Autonomous vehicles between logistics hubs; drones for 'last mile' delivery to consumers. No more inconvenient/inefficient drivers.

  • Another Silicon Valley giant working at self driving cars.

    The problem of driving cars is complex, but it is modular (avoid obstacles, visual recognition, ethical decisions) and universal (everybody mostly want the same thing, that is the car not to crash). So, why don't all these companies develop specifics APIs, or modules, and make the core, gluing system open, instead wasting time developing their own distro, *ehm, algorithm. Considering that self-driving cars will likely interact with more and more s

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"

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