A US patent for self-driving cars has been awarded to Google.
The intellectual property rights relate to a method to switch a vehicle from a human-controlled mode into the state where it takes charge of the wheel. It explains how the car would know when to take control, where it is located and which direction to drive in.
The application for Transitioning a Mixed-mode Vehicle to Autonomous Mode was applied for in May, but had been hidden from public view until this week.
The document describes using two sets of sensors. The first identifies a "landing strip" when the vehicle stops. This then triggers the second set which receives data informing the machine where it is positioned and where it should go.
"The landing strip allows a human driving the vehicle to know acceptable parking places for the vehicle," the patent filing says.
"Additionally, the landing strip may indicate to the vehicle that it is parked in a region where it may transition into autonomous mode."
Although patent experts note that Google's patent will not prevent others developing rival self-drive vehicles, this patent will allow Google to restrict other companies from using a similar method to switch their cars between human-controlled and automatic modes. Alternatively it could charge them a fee for a licence.
Read the full article on the BBC website