Google's Self-Driving Car Had a Big Week
First, via Mike Murphy for Quartz, came the news that Google was awarded a patent that could enable self-driving delivery trucks. Murphy details the patent:
Google’s patent outlines what it calls an 'autonomous delivery platform' for delivery trucks. The trucks would be fitted with a series of lockers that could potentially be unlocked with a PIN code sent to the person waiting for the delivery before the truck arrives at their location. The patent also suggests the locker could be unlocked by a customer’s credit card, or an NFC reader. After the package is dropped off, the truck will continue on to its next delivery point, or return to the depot to pick up more packages.
Murphy provides more on what the patent means, and how self-driving delivery trucks could fit into the futuristic retail delivery business, along with Amazon's famous drone fleet.
Second, via Kristen Korosec for Fortune, came the news that Google had cleared a major roadblock toward commercializing self-driving cars. Specifically, writes Korosec, "The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration told Google that the artificial intelligence system that controls its self-driving car can be considered a driver under federal law."
The article also includes the next steps in what Korosec says will be a long regulatory process before self-driving cars will be street legal for public use.