Amazon may be developing a driverless car, if the filing of a lane guidance innovation that would help autonomous vehicles to stay in the correct lane when multiple modes of transport use the same lines.
Rather than being one software system or hardware device, it covers “various embodiments for coordination of autonomous vehicles in a roadway. A roadway management system can generate lane configurations for a roadway or a portion of the roadway. ” as the patent says.
“The roadway management system can determine the direction of travel for lanes in a roadway and direct autonomous automobiles to enter the roadway in a particular lane,” the abstract continues.
However, the patent doesn’t just seem to apply to cars or vans. It can be integrated into “any type of vehicle, including but not limited to cars, trucks, vans, buses, street cars, helicopters, trains, subways, aircrafts, boats, etc., regardless of how powered or driven.”
What’s interesting is the technology seems to relate specifically to reversible lanes, which may be scant in the UK, but is a very common system in the company’s Seattle hometown. The road priorities change according the time of day to ease congestion on the main routes in and out of the city. Managing the efficiency in this way would make it easier for Amazon to provide a faster service to its customers.
Amazon’s obviously putting quite a big focus on its automated technology, with its Prime Air delivery drones being extensively tested in the UK so it can launch a delivery slot within an hour of ordering goods from the online retailer.
Although this latest patent could relate to the company’s fleet of delivery vehicles, with it hoping to automate those services too in future, there is a possibility it could license the tech to car makers too.