Google self-driving cars would try picking you up twice, then give up and double park: patent

Just when you thought self-driving cars would save us from all the aggravating things human drivers do, along comes Google with a patented system for the double parking of robotic vehicles.

A patent granted Jan. 17 to Google envisions a process for the pickup of passengers by self-driving cars. The system appears applicable to a ride-sharing scenario or when a personal vehicle is summoned.

Google recently spun off its self-driving-car unit into its own company, Waymo, and Waymo CEO John Krafcik said in December the technology could be applied for personal vehicles, goods transportation and ride-sharing.

The patent, which Google applied for in 2014, covers a situation in which a robotic vehicle receives instructions to pick someone up. But of course self-driving cars are not immune to the parking woes that face human drivers. The patented process recognizes that there won’t always be a place for the car to park to make the pickup.

It’ll try once to find a spot. It’ll try twice. Then it’ll go ahead and “stop the vehicle in a current lane to wait for the passenger.”

Waymo, which now falls under Google’s parent firm Alphabet, did not respond to a request for an explanation about the double-parking. So SiliconBeat is unable to reveal whether the firm’s self-driving cars will respond to honking, swearing or raising of middle fingers by human drivers unhappily halted behind a double-parked robot car.

And just because the system is patented doesn’t mean Waymo will pursue it. Google, it should be noted, received a patent in May for coating the hood of a self-driving car with glue, to capture struck pedestrians so they don’t get thrown and injured further.

Photo: A self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan from Google spin-off Waymo (courtesy of Waymo)

 

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