Did Amazon Just Patent the Self-Driving Highway of the Future?

Warning: Driverless 18-wheelers ahead

January 18, 2017 9:00 am

If Paul Revere was providing warnings on Amazon’s progress towards global domination, he’d be placing one lantern in the steeple of the Old North Church right about now.

According to a recently filed patent, it appears the omnipresent online retailer has its sights set on controlling a highway network that would allow self-driving cars and truck navigate street lanes, including reversible ones. Here’s an illustrated explanation:

Though nothing is certain, the patent indicates Amazon is working on a way for autonomous vehicles to communicate with highway management systems to handle surges in traffic flow and navigate changes in variables such as speed limits and passing laws in different states.

Interestingly enough, the patent isn’t only restricted to cars. The patent also covers “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.” The system outline in full:

The network would be owned and operated by Amazon, but would theoretically be open to and able to communicate with almost any autonomous vehicle regardless of owner or manufacturer.

Hope they’re accounting for a Revolutionary and his horse. 

Main Image: Atomic Taco/Flickr

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