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Google Awarded Driverless Vehicle Patent

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the johnny-cab dept.

Google 121

theodp writes "On Tuesday, Google was 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. From the fast-tracked patent application, which was filed last May and kept under wraps at Google's request: 'The autonomous vehicle may be used as a virtual tour guide of Millennium Park in Chicago. In the example embodiment, the vehicle may have an instruction to drive to the Cloud Gate (Silver Bean) sculpture at Millennium Park. When the vehicle arrives, the autonomous instruction may tell it to wait in the location for a predetermined amount of time, for example 5 minutes. The instruction may then direct the vehicle to drive to the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park and again wait for 5 minutes. Next, the instruction may tell the vehicle to drive to the Ice Rink at Millennium Park and wait for another predetermined amount of time. Finally, the vehicle instruction may tell the vehicle to return to its starting position.'"

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Google is hiding their patents (2, Insightful)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377656)

and kept under wraps at Google's request

They even tried to hide their patent request. So if anyone ever wants to make a driverless car, you shall pay Google for the patent.

Re:Google is hiding their patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377802)

That's kinda how patents work, yes. If you want to use the tech behind someone's patent, you have to get their permission. That's the purpose of patents. While it'd be cool if things like this were open-source, I don't see a problem with a company wanting to financially benefit from their innovations/work.

Re:Google is hiding their patents (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377832)

Patents are supposed to be publicly recorded so infringement is accidental in the sense that one didn't do their due diligence, not that the information is being deliberately obscured.

"Do no evil", eh Google?

do no niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378032)

I wouldn't eat in any restaurant that would feed that nigger sow and her brood!

Re:Google is hiding their patents (3, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378056)

The patent is publicly available. There's a link right in the summary. The application was confidential, but it was confidential for less time (7 months) than patent applications are by default (18 months) before it was granted. Damages for patent infringement can include time during which the application was pending, but only if the infringer has notice of the application. Since the application was confidential, that doesn't apply here.

nigger sins condemn niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378180)

The following is a brief statement of our major doctrinal beliefs as taught by the Holy Scriptures. This list is not exhaustive, but a basic digest defining the true faith once delivered to the saints. For a further explanation of our beliefs and the implications of these truths, please contact us.

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WE BELIEVE Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) came to redeem (a word meaning purchase back according to the law of kinship) only His people Israel (Psalm 130:7-8; Isa. 54:5; Matt. 10:5-6, 15:24; Gal. 4:4-5) who are His portion and inheritance (Deut. 32:9).

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WE BELIEVE in an existing being known as the Devil or Satan and called the Serpent (Gen. 3:1; Rev. 12:9), who has a literal "seed" or posterity in the earth (Gen. 3:15) commonly called Jews today (Rev. 2:9; 3:9; Isa. 65:15). These children of Satan (John 8:44-47; Matt. 13:38; John 8:23) through Cain (I John 2:22, 4:3) who have throughout history always been a curse to true Israel, the Children of God, because of a natural enmity between the two races (Gen. 3:15), because they do the works of their father the Devil (John 8:38-44), and because they please not God, and are contrary to all men (I Thes. 2:14-15), though they often pose as ministers of righteousness (II Cor. 11:13-15). The ultimate end of this evil race whose hands bear the blood of our Savior (Matt. 27:25) and all the righteous slain upon the earth (Matt. 23:35), is Divine judgment (Matt. 13:38-42, 15:13; Zech. 14:21).

WE BELIEVE that the Man Adam (a Hebrew word meaning: ruddy, to show Blood, flush, turn rosy) is father of the White Race only. As a son of God (Luke 3:38), made in His likeness (Gen. 5:1), Adam and his descendants, who are also the children of God (Psalm 82:6; Hos. 1:10; Rom. 8:16; Gal. 4:6; I John 3:1-2), can know YHVH God as their creator. Adamic man is made trichotomous, that is, not only of body and soul, but having an implanted spirit (Gen. 2:7; I Thes. 5:23; Heb. 4:12) giving him a higher form of consciousness and distinguishing him from all the other races of the earth (Deut. 7:6, 10:15; Amos 3:2).

WE BELIEVE that as a chosen race, elected by God (Deut. 7:6, 10:15; I Peter 2:9), we are not to be partakers of the wickedness of this world system (I John 2:15; James 4:4; John 17/9, 15, 16), but are called to come out and be a separated people (II Cor. 6:17; Rev. 18:4; Jer. 51:6; Exodus 33:16; Lev. 20:24). This includes segregation from all non-white races, who are prohibited in God's natural divine order from ruling over Israel (Deut. 17:15, 28:13, 32:8; Joel 2:17; Isa. 13:14; Gen. 1:25-26; Rom. 9:21). Race-mixing is an abomination in the sight of Almighty God, a satanic attempt meant to destroy the chosen seedline, and is strictly forbidden by His commandments (Exo. 34:14-16; Num. 25:1-13; I Cor. 10:8/ Rev. 2:14; Deut. 7:3-4; Joshua 23:12-13; I Kings 11:1-3; Ezra 9:2, 10-12; 10:10-14; Neh. 10:28-30, 13;3, 27; Hosea 5;7; Mal. 2:11-12).

WE BELIEVE sin is transgression of God's Law (I John 3:4; Rom. 3:31, 7:7) and that all have sinned (Rom. 3;23). Only through knowledge of God's Law as given in His Commandments, Statutes and Judgments, can we define and know what sin is. We are to keep and teach the laws of God (Matt. 5:17-19) on both a personal and national basis.

WE BELIEVE God gave Israel His Laws for their own good (Deut. 5:33). Theocracy being the only perfect form of government, and God's divine Law for governing a nation being far superior to man's laws, we are not to add to or diminish from His commandments (Deut. 4:1-2). All present world problems are a result of disobedience to the Laws of God, which if kept will bring blessings and if disregarded will bring cursings (Deut. 28).

WE BELIEVE men and women should conduct themselves according to the role of their gender in the traditional Christian sense that God intended. Homosexuality is an abomination before God and should be punished by death (Lev. 18:22, 20:13; Rom. 1:24-28, 32; I Cor. 6:9).

WE BELIEVE that the United States of America fulfills the prophesied (II Sam. 7:10; Isa. 11:12; Ezek. 36:24) place where Christians from all the tribes of Israel would be regathered. It is here in this blessed land (Deut. 15.6, 28:11, 33:13-17) that God made a small one a strong nation (Isa. 60:22), feeding His people with knowledge and understanding through Christian pastors (Jer. 3:14-15) who have carried the light of truth and blessings unto the nations of the earth (Isa. 49:6, 2:2-3; Gen. 12:3). North America is the wilderness (Hosea 2:14) to which God brought the dispersed seed of israel, the land between tow seas (Zech. 9:10), surveyed and divided by rivers (Isa. 18:1-2,7), where springs of water and streams break out and the desert blossoms as the rose (Isa. 35:1,6-7).

WE BELIEVE the ultimate destiny of all history will be the establishment of the Kingdom of God upon this earth (Psalm 37:9, 11, 22; Isa. 11:9; Matt. 5:5, 6:10; Rev. 21:2-3) with Yahshua our Messiah (Jesus Christ) reigning as King of kings over the house of Jacob forever, of this kingdom and dominion there shall be no end (Luke 1:32-33; Dan. 2:44, 7:14; Zech. 14:9). When our Savior returns to restore righteous government on the earth, there will be a day of reckoning when the kingdoms of this world become His (Rev. 11:15; Isa. 9:6-7) and all evil shall be destroyed (Isa. 13:9; Mal. 4:3; Matt. 13:30, 41-42; II Thes. 2:8). His elect Saints will be raised immortal at His return (I Cor. 15:52-53; I Thes. 4:16; Rev. 20:6) to rule and reign with Him as kings and priests (Rom. 8:17; II Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:10; Exodus 19:6; Dan. 7:18, 27).

Re:Google is hiding their patents (2, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377948)

So the question becomes...are you paying your licensing fee whenever you make toast [google.com] ?

Re:Google is hiding their patents (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378102)

nigger fail [chimpout.com]

fucking idiot cunt nigger

Re:Google is hiding their patents (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380738)

So the question becomes...are you paying your licensing fee whenever you make toast?

Toast is only heated to about between 240 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit, not "between 2500.degree. F. and 4500.degree. F."

Re:Google is hiding their patents (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380808)

Why, it's almost as if it's an invalid patent!

faggot nigger (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378012)

stupid fucking cunt shit whore fag nigger cunt nigger jew fag ass cunt whore

FUUUUCK

stupid nigger

nigger faggot cunt (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378136)

What do nigger kids get for Christmas?
Your bike.

nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger

Re:Google is hiding their patents (2)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378388)

That's kinda how patents work, yes. If you want to use the tech behind someone's patent

So is it the tech that's patented or the driver-less car? They're not synonymous.

Re:Google is hiding their patents (3, Insightful)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378568)

the driverless car is an idea, so it's not patentable.

the implementation of that idea is what is patented.

my guess is google have made it as broad as legally possible to maximize protection of the patent.

i can't be bothered to read it though.

personally, i don't think this is too bad, as driverless cars are an egg that mankind has been trying to crack for quite a while. patenting that doesn't seem too evil.

Re:Google is hiding their patents (5, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378950)

But the summary doesn't mention an implementation of a driverless car. What they mention is methods and devices for Transitioning a Mixed-mode Autonomous Vehicle from a Human Driven Mode to an Autonomously Driven Mode... in other words, Google has patented the switch.

Re:Google is hiding their patents (1)

TooManyNames (711346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380470)

The bounds of a patent are determined by what is claimed in the claims, not the summary. Now, the summary should describe the gist of the patented invention, and the claims should be supported by the written description and other portions of the patent but, when it comes to infringement, it is what is claimed that counts.

Re:Google is hiding their patents (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377864)

Fuck Slop is a term used to describe the shit that is taken by gay men after having anal sex. Semen is shot out of the anus with one swift squirt.

Re:Google is hiding their patents (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377946)

nigger nigger nigger

sissy man clit fag whore

Re:Google is hiding their patents (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377878)

I guess my question is: Why?

The application is in. The patent is on the way. Once its granted, it will be published for all to see. So the only thing this prevents is public inspection and comment during the review process. Not that the patent examiners pay attention to public comment in all cases. But if they would, this is only an end run around someone calling "Bullsh*t!" on the application.

Input from practitioners in the art are the best way to shut down worthless patent applications. Before the patent is granted and it will cost someone massive legal fees to challenge.

huge nigger dick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378206)

When you touch me I get a feeling

I get hot inside from my body chillin

Hot flashes run thru my mind...

And my heart is beating in double time...

I only get this .........

DISGUSTING NIGGER DICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:Google is hiding their patents (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379198)

I guess my question is: Why?

Probably to protect proprietary information/technology before the patent was granted. If discussion of specifics regarding how it actually works were part of the patent application, then they're well within their rights wanting to keep that information confidential. While you make a good point about not having pointless or BS patents filed, it's worth pointing out that this isn't a bogus idea that'll never pan out. In fact, it's already been done, by Google, last year. And while there have been some hiccups in the testing, and the technology isn't ready for prime time, the technology itself is real.

Re:Google is hiding their patents (5, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380180)

More likely to protect it from immediate attacks by product handling robot vehicles as used in many factories. Vehicles that move, wait, are loaded, unloaded, depending upon product to be loaded or unloaded and then move on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automated_guided_vehicle [wikipedia.org] .

So google has been awarded a patent based upon substituting the word 'car' for vehicle and 'human' for product. Looks like the US should win the award for the most bullshit patents awarded.

So yeah it's already been done, all over the bloody place by whole lot's of companies. So did google actually invent anything new hardware or did they just use other people's hardware and tack on a bit of software, define a susbset of possible product to be moved and vehicle type to be used (talk about bloody obvious).

Re:Google is hiding their patents (4, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377902)

What Google did was make a request for confidentiality under 35 U.S.C. 122(b)(2)(B). Normally patents are kept confidential for 18 months after filing, whereupon they are published by the Patent Office. A 122(b)(2)(B) request keeps the application confidential so long as the applicant doesn't file in another country or make a Patent Cooperation Treaty filing that requires publication at 18 months. Essentially it's confidentiality at the expense of not being able to go international. In this case, it wouldn't have made a difference because the patent issued about 7 months after filing. Even without the 122(b)(2)(B) request the application would not have been published before the patent issued.

Re:Google is hiding their patents (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378028)

Where are you getting that? Yes, patents have been abused like that before -- where someone claims ownership of *any* means of accomplishing a goal. (*cough* amazon one-click)

But what is your evidence that this specific patent entitles Google to exclusive ownership of all methods of achieving autonomous driving cars?

Re:Google is hiding their patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38379024)

I used to come to slashdot mainly for the comments. Now I have to put up with garbage like this right on top. Oh slashdot what happened to you ?!

That's not how it works (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379652)

"Making a driverless car" is a concept people have talked about for a long time - that's not what you get to patent. Google's specific methods for making a driverless car probably are, but you can find other ways to make driverless cars and Google's patents aren't supposed to affect you.

One of the big problems with software patents, and especially with business method patents, is that the Patent Office was pretty clueless about prior art and obviousness to skilled practitioners and allowed a lot of patents about "Do X Using a Computer!" or "Do Y On the Internet!" where those were obvious things to want to do, and usually done in obvious ways, and of course, there have been lots of patents like "A wheel, with this very specific new technique for building part of the axle" and then trying to extort money from anybody using wheels or other rotating devices.

Re:Google is hiding their patents (2)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379698)

I hope they will "do no evil" and use this patent only defensively.

Slashdot's reaction (1, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377670)

Slashdot's reaction to this will be interesting. On the one hand, it's a patent, and we know how much Slashdot hates patents, especially when a company tries to fast-track one in a clandestine manner. On the other hand, Johnny Cab [virtualworldlets.net] .

Re:Slashdot's reaction (2)

neiko (846668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377876)

I haven't RTFA yet, but if it's not a patent solely on software I don't think most folks here will have too much of a problem with it.

Re:Slashdot's reaction (4, Interesting)

Grond (15515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378010)

It's pretty much a patent on software. Software for controlling a vehicle, but software nonetheless. Claim 15, for example:

An article of manufacture including a tangible non-transitory computer-readable storage medium having computer-readable instructions encoded thereon, the instructions comprising: instructions for detecting a landing strip with a first sensor responsive to a vehicle stopping; instructions for detecting a reference indicator with a second sensor, responsive to the first sensor detecting the landing strip; instructions for identifying reference data associated with the detected reference indicator, wherein the reference data comprises an internet address; instructions for wirelessly retrieving the autonomous vehicle instruction based on at least the reference data; instructions for switching a vehicle to autonomous operation mode; and, instructions for performing the autonomous vehicle instruction.

This claim format is known as a Beauregard claim [wikipedia.org] . Such claims have long been used as one of several ways of claiming software-implemented inventions, though their long-term viability is somewhat suspect (hence all the "tangible non-transitory" hedging language). The other claims are to a method (also basically software) and to a vehicle running the software on a control module (since Google didn't invent the car, that's basically another software claim).

Well... (2)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378688)

This sucks, destroys any idea I had of developing an algorithm that drives a car.

Re:Slashdot's reaction (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379200)

See this is why I hate software patents. It's not because they are software, but because I haven't seen a single software patent that comes close to alluding how to actually implement the invention in the patent. If you take a patent for a mechanical device, it's usually described in such a way (using diagrams and such) how one who is skilled in the field would actually construct the mechanical device. When it's a software patent, they don't give any source code, pseudo code, or even allude to how one would actually program such a thing. So, even when the patent does expire, anybody wanting to take advantage of the invention in the patent has to come up with their own implementation from scratch. Sure you know the end goal of the program, but if there are no instructions on which algorithms one would use to create a driverless car, then the patent is useless. So Google gets a monopoly on driverless cars for the next 17 years, And after that, we all get nothing because we have no more information on how to implement said driverless car, because all the source code is locked up in copyright and trade secrets.

Re:Slashdot's reaction (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378402)

On the one hand, it's a patent, and we know how much Slashdot hates patents,

No, we don't, because Slashdot is not a single person and is incapable of hating anything, and a difference of opinion between any number of Slashdot posters does not constitute any kind of contradiction or hypocrisy.

You know this, and therefore your implication to the contrary makes you a liar.

You cannot refute or even disagree with this fact, and you know it.

Re:Slashdot's reaction (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378624)

I think the consensus* will be that the DARPA Challenge constitutes Prior Art as many of those vehicles were converted from human to fully autonomous.

I also think the consensus* will be that the patent will make it impossible for DARPA to continue running its challenge, as having Google demand royalties from every entrant would make it impossible for highly innovative/inventive colleges or individuals from taking part as these are not the kinds of groups that will have money to spare for paying off Google.

*consensus here is defined as "the view of the actual geeks and nerds on this site".

Re:Slashdot's reaction (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379134)

My take on this would depend on how broad the patent in question actually is.

If it's broad enough to cover any reasonable implementation of driverless car, then it's clearly way too broad, so Google bad.

If, however, they are just patenting their specific algorithms for it - I don't see why not. This is a problem that took decades to solve, so clearly it's anything but trivial, and it's reasonable that Google should be given a way to recoup their development costs.

Re:Slashdot's reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38379258)

We all know your reaction - the famous shill bonch bashing Google yet again for any and all reasons.

So what do we call these things? (4, Funny)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377748)

AutoAuto's?

???

Re:So what do we call these things? (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377930)

AutoAuto's?

???

Ah. And when they go up for resale: Otto's Auto Autos!

Re:So what do we call these things? (2)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378350)

AutoBots and when microsoft comes out with a competing product it will be the decepticons

Re:So what do we call these things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378370)

AT-AT

Re:So what do we call these things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378630)

Johnny Cab

What about those DARPA contests over the years? (1)

Lashat (1041424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377776)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Grand_Challenge [wikipedia.org]

This contest dates back to 2004.

Google practice your motto here. Do no evil.

One Google Inventor Won DARPA Challenge at CMU (2)

theodp (442580) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378420)

Google [blogspot.com] : To develop this technology, we gathered some of the very best engineers from the DARPA Challenges, a series of autonomous vehicle races organized by the U.S. Government. Chris Urmson was the technical team leader of the CMU team that won the 2007 Urban Challenge.

Re:One Google Inventor Won DARPA Challenge at CMU (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378668)

Yes, but one challenger or even a group of engineers from challenging teams has no right to violate the restriction on prior art -or- to block DARPA from running such contests by means of patent ownership.

The patent is overly broad, in other words. A team patenting a very specific solution is one thing, but this isn't patenting something very specific. It's patenting a swathe of solutions.

It's also in violation of the essence of a patent. Patents are there to encourage inventors by allowing them monopoly of their invention for a fixed period. None of these inventors created the "idea", since the "idea" is the contest. Nor are they cashing in on their invention, Google is. Google had nothing to do with the invention and therefore isn't being encouraged to do anything. The inventors are presumably salaried and thus also not encouraged to do anything.

Re:One Google Inventor Won DARPA Challenge at CMU (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379160)

Well, are they actually patenting an idea? Or is it a patent for a very specific solution?

Anyway, if this is indeed so broad that it would cover all vehicles used in the DARPA challenges, then that would constitute prior art, and patent will be shot down on those grounds. My bet is that Google isn't that stupud.

Re:One Google Inventor Won DARPA Challenge at CMU (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379308)

The courts often defer to the patent office, the patent office always defers to the courts. The average inventor hasn't the funding to file for relief via either. Microsoft isn't currently building a car, nor are RIM or Oracle. That limits who is going to do the shooting.

First reat that as (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377784)

Google awarded first patent test vehicle

Dunno where I got that from. Wouldn't surprise me if that's what their driver-less car turns out to be.

Steve Ballmer is probably throwing Recaro seats around his office over this.

Talk on your cell phone all you want. (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377846)

Get a Google driverless vehicle and you can talk on your cell phone all you want. (Ref: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/12/13/1845259/ntsb-recommends-cell-phone-ban-for-drivers [slashdot.org] )

Re:Talk on your cell phone all you want. (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377908)

Get a Google driverless vehicle and you can talk on your cell phone all you want. (Ref: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/12/13/1845259/ntsb-recommends-cell-phone-ban-for-drivers [slashdot.org] )

Dream come true for drunks, too.

yssh shhirr I've p_ssed me pants, sh_t me drawers an' c'n not stannup, thss why me carss takin' me home. *hic*

Re:Talk on your cell phone all you want. (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379152)

"I'm sorry, I do not understand 'this is why me caress taking the home'"

Re:Talk on your cell phone all you want. (2)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379142)

There is a catch:

Since google is at the end of the day just a huge web based ad agency, you are forced to watch a wireless internet connected screen thats feeding you audio commercials all the way to your destination. :P

Chinese are right to pirate/steal everything. (3, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377912)

Take a look at this patent ..... It could as well be the instructions someone gives to their son/daughter to go to the grocery store and back. it is only THAT complicated and specific/technical. And yet, it is granted as an 'intellectual property' in usa now. It has gone down to basic logical algorithms.

Re:Chinese are right to pirate/steal everything. (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378344)

And you didn't invent it because....?

Re:Chinese are right to pirate/steal everything. (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379292)

Who says he didn't? Someone doesn't have to file a patent every time they invent something. I've never patented any of my inventions, and don't disseminate the vast majority of them. OP is welcome to comment on a patent, and whether he inveted it or not is irrelevant. Bad troll. Bad!

Re:Chinese are right to pirate/steal everything. (5, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378580)

Take a look at this patent ..... It could as well be the instructions someone gives to their son/daughter to go to the grocery store and back. it is only THAT complicated and specific/technical.

Um, no.

I think you are confusing the example task described in TFS with "the patent". That task described in the patent as an example of a single instance of an "autonomous vehicle instruction", but what is patented isn't the ability to execute either that instruction or autonomous vehicle instructions in general, but instead a mechanism for transitioning between autonomous and manual operations, and the example autonomous vehicle instruction is simply an illustration what "autonomous operation" is in that context.

Just saw one (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377920)

I was next to a Google self-driving Prius on I-280S in San Francisco yesterday.
It was carrying three extremely stereotypical Google employees: 20-something white guy with pony tail and pocket protector, 20-something clean cut east asian engineer in REI jacket and plastic glasses and 20-something south asian engineer in polo shirt (all male).
The one behind the wheel was just barely holding it, presumably to second-guess the car if necessary. It was driving pretty well though I noticed it shares some annoying habits of human drivers, such as placing the driver in the center of the lane (should be to the left!) and briefly flashing the brakes. On the whole it was drove quite conservatively, though I think it did pass the limit once or twice.

Re:Just saw one (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379180)

briefly flashing the brakes.

Briefly flashing the brakes before actually braking is a courtesy to other drivers on the road - it lets them know in advance that you're going to start braking (and e.g. change lanes).

Or did you mean something else?

Re:Just saw one (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380758)

placing the driver in the center of the lane (should be to the left!)

No, the driver should be in the center of the lane. Sometimes there's a shoulder only on the right, sometimes only on the left, but all that's irrelevant because that lane is your lane, this lane is my lane is more than a song, it's a way of life... for some of us. Unfortunately you can find people who are careless about the lane markers just by going for a drive, so realistically you want to be protected from people who might enter your lane from either side. And moreover, in cases where there is no divider, you most emphatically do not want to be at the left side of the lane, because head-on collisions are not good things.

What I'd like to know is how one of these cars would handle driving around my town, where there's potholes big enough to lose a Prius in completely and still have room for a couple of motorcycles.

Even better.... (4, Funny)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377928)

... you don't even have to tell it where to take you - Google already knows.

Patents prevent the re-use of ideas. (3, Interesting)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377966)

No one should have the right to prevent someone from using a solution or an idea. The problem isn't with patents existing, it is with their restrictions on re-use and elaboration by other people.

When someone claims to have invented something, they're just hiding their sources of inspiration. If we all made our sources open, then we would have so much more to "invent".

Anyone should be able to use anything and profit. Instead of it being about ownership and theft, it should be about free redistribution, transparency, and paying it backwards to those you owe credit.

Re:Patents prevent the re-use of ideas. (2)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379382)

The whole original point of patents was to document inventions so that they'd get out into the public, in exchange for a temporary legal limitation on who can use it. Without them, all sorts of inventions were used internally as trade secret, and as people passed on or changed careers, innovation was lost.

The PTO is granting way too many junk patents (I haven't RTFA, so I don't know how garbage this one is), but if fewer patents were granted, or terms were shortened based on some metric of innovation or uniqueness, things would be better off. Problem is, the government believes that the number of patents granted per year is a productivity & innovation metric; in reality with such quantity granted it's just legal strong-arming and innovating stifling.

Re:Patents prevent the re-use of ideas. (2)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379952)

temporary legal limitation on who can use it

... is precisely the bottleneck. The throughput of one person or one entity is minuscule in comparison to the entire intellectually innovative population, and because of sole ownership, no one can build on any of these "publicly disclosed" ideas. They are public as a reference of "what you may not do without our permission" and not "what we now know how to do, feel free to run with it".

But ownership is what drives capitalism, and no ownership is not necessary. What is necessary is "freedom of use" and "fair trade" together with "ownership". I should be able to sell a car based on Google's patent (assuming it is thorough enough, which it isn't) and feel comfortable with the percentage of sales the law dictates I owe Google for my "source of expertise and inspiration". This would accomplish "freedom of use". The missing piece would be regulation of trade so that it is "fair". For example, people wouldn't be able to sell something at a loss, and they would be required to profit. This is similar to the tax laws that require "fair compensation" so that even if a corporation owes little or no taxes, payroll taxes would still be collected.

Innovation evolves, grows, and stacks. The moment someone has full claim to one brick and what can be built on top of it, construction grinds to a halt, and all the innovative builders are sent away, resulting in everyone working on their own tiny little houses which is exactly what is happening today.

Patents should be a contribution to the community, with the community dictating what fair compensation for that contribution may be. Not contributing or not sharing should not even be an option, yet that is the compensation. It is totally backwards. Those who file patents should get paid, not have to pay. Those who invent shouldn't be burdened with monetizing their ideas.

Building something together requires sharing ownership. The hogging of intelligence keeps everything primitive, and fighting in court over who came up with something first or whether someone "stole" an invention is the primitive behavior the whole system encourages.

(sorry for the rant)

Re:Patents prevent the re-use of ideas. (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380186)

(sorry for the rant)

Sorry? If I hadn't already posted, I'd mod you up.

Prior Art (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377968)

I see two pieces of prior art:

1. Automated driverless trains that automatically go from stop to stop with predetermined waiting times at each one.

2. Surely there's some episode of Knight rider where Michael told KITT to wait until a predetermined time to take some action.

Re:Prior Art (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378046)

2. Surely there's some episode of Knight rider where Michael told KITT to wait until a predetermined time to take some action.

I'm pretty sure fiction doesn't count as prior art. Or did I just get wooshed?

Re:Prior Art (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378204)

2. Surely there's some episode of Knight rider where Michael told KITT to wait until a predetermined time to take some action.

I'm pretty sure fiction doesn't count as prior art. Or did I just get wooshed?

I don't know if fiction can be used as prior art for a utility patent, but Samsung seems to think fictional depictions can be used as prior art against a design patent:

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/08/23/samsung_cites_science_fiction_as_prior_art_in_us_ipad_patent_case.html [appleinsider.com]

Re:Prior Art (1)

FloydTheDroid (1296743) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379738)

Yes, I don't see how Vernor Vinge (and countless other authors) can write about the exact thing (in Rainbows End) and it doesn't matter. First to file sucks!

Re:Prior Art (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378356)

Wouldn't it make it something that was obvious though? And isn't something that is obvious un-patentable? How can you patent an idea that was broadcast on TV 30 years ago? (and really all these patents are just trying to restrict you from building a better mousetrap by patenting the idea not the implementation).

Re:Prior Art (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379130)

For example - the idea of a time machine has been around for a long time, at least since H.G. Wells wrote about it. If I could *actually* build one....that would absolutely be patentable. It isn't the idea that's patentable, it's how to do it. If, of course, the "how to do it" is novel, useful, and non-obvious.

Re:Prior Art (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379828)

I can file a vaguely worded patent now (it happen all the time and we see it), and it will be accepted. In reality business method patents are just ideas with no physical implementation (they're algorithms). So why can't this be used in reverse? Use an idea with no implementation (like where something exists in a story) to shoot it down? How can you patent that idea when someone already had it?

Even in this patent they are saying 'this is an example of a landing strip apparatus'. They aren't saying, *this* is what we are patenting. It looks like they are trying to set it up so that if someone builds their own landing strip apparatus they will have defined it loosely enough that they can sue them for patent infringement. To me this patenting an idea, not something really concrete (at best it is squishy). A story is an idea as well. If the patent office is going to continue to allow people to patent ideas like they have been doing, as opposed to a specific tightly designed and physically produced example, then why can't ideas that have been documented previously be used to shoot stuff down as well; regardless of where that idea originated (it is still an idea)?

Re:Prior Art (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380722)

So why can't this be used in reverse? Use an idea with no implementation (like where something exists in a story) to shoot it down?

That's invalidation on the basis of obviousness; it's obvious because it's already been discussed in a story. That's not prior art, unless how to do it is actually discussed in detail.

Re:Prior Art (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381098)

That was what I was originally getting at about two or or three posts up. :) But really, if a lot of people are patenting ideas with no physical implementation (really algorithms which many think is bullshit), why can't another idea be prior art? I know people wouldn't go for it because it is ridiculous, but what I was trying to get at was it is no more ridiculous than what they doing now.

Minority Report (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377978)

So...that scene in Minority Report, where Tom Cruise switches the car he's in from auto driving mode to manual driving mode, that doesn't DIRECTLY show the obviousness of this patent?

Um, autopilots anyone? (3, Insightful)

williamhb (758070) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378020)

Nothing in the patent says "car". Just vehicle. I'm not an expert, but it looks to me like this is a patent for "what aeroplane autopilots have done for decades, but not mentioning the word aeroplane". It even says "landing strip" in claim 1! How the blazes did this get granted??

Re:Um, autopilots anyone? (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378154)

It's part of a new program at the PTO where if something has never been patented, it's assumed never to have been invented. It's an incredible time-saver.

Re:Um, autopilots anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38379798)

I've seen warehouses where the forklifts are all driverless.. How the fuck is this patent any different?

Re:Um, autopilots anyone? (1)

DnaK (1306859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379888)

The forklifts are being operated by someone. The google car is autonomous and supposed to "react".

Obligatory robotic overlords comment (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378124)

When the vehicle arrives, the autonomous instruction may tell it to wait in the location for a predetermined amount of time, for example 5 minutes. The instruction may then direct the vehicle to drive to the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park and again wait for 5 minutes.

Finally we've found the answer to the all-important question: "How long does the first sentient AI wait before annihilating humanity?".

4.30 pm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378130)

and at 4.30 pm that should take 2.5 hours with wacker drive closed.

Can a passenger safely exit at any time? How does that work?

I like the implication (4, Insightful)

Xanny (2500844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378132)

Fast forward ten years when we are all driving driverless cars. No matter who makes them, they need to get permission from Google to make such a vehicle even if they never use any google product in its production. The fact that technology will have easily progressed far enough by that point to allow fully automated vehicles, google will still be getting a huge chunk out of any car made or sold without ever having any part its design, construction, or sale, besides being the first ones to do it.

This is like all software patents. Trying to patent mathematics and language. And we are going to have a whole generation of wasted potential because there is no way to fix it, because the only ones that can change it love the way things are now.

Re:I like the implication (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380070)

Ten years??? What auto industry and regulatory framework exists on *your* planet?

The patent will long be expired before such cars are even remotely usable. Not only will the market have to shift (I mean, how many people seriously trust their software that much?) but for federal, state, and local regulations to accommodate such vehicles we're looking at *way* more than ten years. I'd suggest we'd have a person on mars before the bulk of the US auto fleet is autonomous.

It's a crazy fun project, though. I wonder why Larry is funding it.

Driverless Vehicle Patent (2)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378202)

It is sure good that we don't award patents for obvious things and that no one except Google ever had the idea for a driverless vehicle.

Re:Driverless Vehicle Patent (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378516)

Everyone had the idea, but Google has one that works. This is the traditional difference required for getting a patent.

But what about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378322)

It's all good until a T-Rex comes along and knocks your car over.

Spared no expense (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378400)

The first thing I thought of when I read this was whether or not Richard Kiley would be narrating the tour.

Sigh (1)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378410)

I bet car makers are thrilled by this patent. It'll make sure things stay the same for a few more decades.

Looking Ahead to the Not So Distant Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378464)

Google will be in the driver seat when there are no longer humans alive on the surface of the planet and will use video technology to clear the paths of human debris from routes that need to be open for various geo engineering tasks for the large body of anti-brethren held up under ground.

Way to go Google

Thanks, but no thanks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378544)

Knowing how your search engine will "change" my keywords when doing a search, I have a feeling it would not take me to where I wanted to go.

What about Disney? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378692)

Given how vague the patent is, wouldn't this also cover attraction ridecars (the more modern trackless ones anyway).

"Reference indicator" related prior art & cont (2)

awtbfb (586638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378738)

This is not a patent on autonomous driving. That would be very hard to do given the extensive prior art. Instead, the patent is basically focused the vehicle switching modes or executing an autonomous motion based on a QR code or some other infrastructure based marker that points at an URL. Many other teams have used infrastructure markers to indicated a change in vehicle mode. For example, California PATH encodes a binary 0101 signal using N-S-N-S magnet orientation, several Japanese teams use RF-based roadway beacons, and a variety of teams use painted markings (e.g., Civis bus in Las Vegas). However, most of these use internally stored references and maps on the vehicles. Also, some of the DSRC implementations conceived by US DOT include autonomous actions based on information received over RF from nearby vehicles. The difference here is that this patent is about using the reference to look up a command over the internet. It is a small delta on existing work.

Having said this, the idea raises all sorts of questions about man-in-the-middle attacks.

Maybe Not? (My fingers are crossed) (2)

BeefMcHuge (1594193) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379310)

One of the original reasons to have a patent system was to help ensure the spread of knowledge and know-how. By providing limited time legal protection to patent holders, they had an incentive to put their ideas out in the public domain. Once the patent expires the entire world is free to copy the design etc. In contrast if someone keeps their product/idea as a trade secret instead ( WD-40 and coke for example) no one gains the ability to make your product unless they can figure out how you did it.

That concept seems to work just fine until we get into software. I have not read the patent but I have a feeling that you could not recreate whatever Google did just from reading it. From the write up it sounds like a common sense concept. Basically they get legal protection but don't really have to show how they do it. My hope is that Google is being defensive with this and ensuring that no one else gets the patent and then licenses the tech for free and the betterment of mankind (which they could do). I'm not a huge Google fanboi and they confuse me some times by doing one thing that seems very progressive and then turning around and taking a hard business view on something else.

In general I like the concept of patents and IP but the implementation is so bad that we might just be better off without it. At the least, if you apply for a patent on a device the patent should be a manual on how to make it from scratch by someone with the required skills. That way once your patent expires the knowledge is truly free for anyone to pickup and expand/make cheaper/whatever the fuck they wanna do with it. I think that would be more in line with the original idea of why we have patents.

Millenium Park? (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380114)

Unless you're disabled and need a cart, Millenium Park makes no sense as an example. None of the features named are accessible by car... you can walk to one or another in a minute or two.

Tour Bots in Second Life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380248)

Tour Bots have been in existence in Second Life for years, I myself have written a robotics language in SL's scripting LSL tool that provides the same functions.

Just because it's a virtual object, doesn't mean that the methods were not already created and used.

Dinosaurs (1)

jcfandino (2196932) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380326)

Just make sure it can run away from dinosaurs.

T-Rex don't just eat goats.

Application hiding & nonpublication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380398)

Under U.S. law, all patent applications are published at 18 months after the filing date or date of earliest priority claim. Since Google filed for accelerated examination (either qualify under a specific program or pay extra money), the application was examined so fast that it was issued as a patent before the 18 month point (we would never see it before its issue date anyway).

It did however have a non-publication request. Nonpublication is permitted under U.S. law (see 35 USC 122(b)) and is not unusual (although almost all applications are published at 18 months). However there are two downsides for the patent owner: 1) requesting nonpublication in the US gives up all chance of foreign filing, 2) it means that the application cannot serve as published prior art until it issues as a patent.

Worst kind of patent (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380502)

Lets say I spend millions on R&D to make an automated tour car happen.

Then I also have to pay google royalities to use the basic concept of replacing a human tour guide with a computer? Why?

This seems absurd to me especially since automated tour trains have been around for years.

Jurasic Park? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380828)

Didn't Jurassic Park already have this technology? Dammit, get me Hammond on the phone!

Lists of Patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381250)

We keep seeing stories of crappy patents that were proposed or are being accepted. However, I've never heard of any patent rejection stats. Does the patent office list those? Can we get a list of rejects patents and see how crazy those are?

Congratulations! You've patented....logo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381662)

Seriously? They've patented the act of telling something where to go and to wait when it gets there? Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't automated manufacturing machinery had this sort of functionality for years? How does this pass the "novelty" requirement?

Trial is inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381668)

The US needs to stop granting software patents, which this essentially is. And it will most likely be overturned after a long and expensive trip to court. The automotive industry as a whole won't go for it.

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