Google Takes On Uber, Lyft? Company Seeking Patent For Self-Driving Taxi Service

Jan 17, 2017 05:30 AM EST | Rebecca Pearson


Google is poised to make its self-driving cars provide a more profitable service. The company has reportedly applied for a patent that will usher its entry to the taxi service industry that could potentially affect Uber and Lyft operations.

Patent Yogi was first to report on the propriety license the company has applied for that will enable Google to have a specific pickup and destination points for its self-driving cars. Ideally, passengers will have to input the details like pick-up and drop-off that should be near a designated meet up spot. The self-driving cars will then navigate to the spots to wait for its passenger.

The patent, however, comes with some challenges as self-driving cars are likely to come across construction zones and other inaccessible or unsafe sites, as with traditionally driven cars. Uber and other taxi drivers can navigate through these road blocks and kinks without any problems, but it's not the same for self-driving cars.

To address the potential situation, Google said that its patent for the pick-up/drop-off points will also include a dispatching system that will offer passengers several suggested locations so that if one site is not convenient, there are still other options. Its aim is to make the "availability, safety, and usefulness of the services of autonomous vehicles" more streamlined, The Verge reports. It's worth nothing, however, that Uber is already using a similar pick-up/drop-off system on specific locations for its carpooling service.

Observers note that Google's idea is a push towards making self-driving cars a viable taxi service business. Its commercial appeal could improve the transport system in a big way, as commuters are provided with another convenient option.

But Google has not made any official announcements regarding this and the move in this direction might take a while. According to Business Insider, commuters and consumers are still wary about embracing self-driving cars in general, much less an Uber-like self-driving car service.

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