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Self-driving Connected Taxis Insights from Patents

Self-driving Connected Taxis Insights from Patents

 Japanese company Robot Taxi Inc. announced that it will start trials with self-driving taxi service beginning in 2016. US20150339928 illustrates the system for operating the autonomous vehicles taxi service. A user can request a taxi service using an application that is running on the user’s mobile device. The taxi service request can include the number of passengers to ride in the autonomous vehicle and a requested vehicle type etc. The taxi service control system receives the taxi service request from the user’s mobile device. The taxi service control system selects an autonomous vehicle from the operating autonomous vehicles to perform the taxi service for the user.

The taxi service provides the picking up the user at a pickup location at a selected pickup time and dropping off the user at a drop-off location. The pickup location can be a current location associated with the mobile device or a specific location defined in the taxi service request. The taxi service control system selects an autonomous vehicle that is currently available to perform the taxi service from the list of autonomous vehicles based on the autonomous vehicle’s current proximity or distance to the pickup location. The selected pickup time for the taxi service can be an upcoming time. The taxi service control system identifies an autonomous vehicle that is available at the selected pickup time from the list of autonomous vehicles.

After the autonomous vehicle is selected, the taxi service control system schedules the autonomous vehicle to perform the taxi service for the user at the selected pickup time. The taxi service control system sends a confirmation to the user that requested the taxi service, via the application on the user’s mobile device. The taxi service control system notifies the user when the autonomous vehicle is near the pickup location.

When the autonomous vehicle arrives at the pickup location, the user can be granted access to the autonomous vehicle upon providing a form of authentication. The autonomous vehicle selects the best route to drive the user from the pickup location to the drop-off location. The route can be optimized to reduce a distance traveled or an amount of time to perform the taxi service. The user can request for the route to be altered when the autonomous vehicle is traveling to the drop-off location. The taxi service control system calculates the cost associated with the taxi service. The taxi service control system, using bank account information associated with the user, charges the user for the taxi service.

US2015015849 illustrates the central monitoring system to control the autonomous taxi vehicles. The monitoring system receives inputs from the vehicle traveling on a road in real-time. The inputs include information regarding the environment surrounding the vehicle and other surrounding vehicles. Based on to the inputs, the central monitoring system determines if the monitored vehicle is approaching a hazardous condition. When it is determined that the monitored vehicle is approaching a potentially hazardous condition, the central monitoring system actuates the vehicle controls system (such as a brake system or steering system or collision avoidance system of the vehicle) to avoid or minimize the risk of the hazardous situation. The vehicles communicate with the central monitoring systems and other vehicles via the vehicle communication system.

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