Patent Monkey: Knight Rider Patent by Subaru

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Last week, Fuji Industrial/Subaru, received the latest patent for an automatically controlled, GPS guided car. Subaru is joined most notably by Volkswagen in this field, and we take a quick look at autonomous vehicles on the news of Stanford’s formal statement that they are in for this year’s DARPA Grand Challenge.

DARPA has run autonomous vehicle competitions back to 2004 called the Grand Challenge and the contestants, including Stanford Racing Team (sponsored by Volkswagen), have done some amazing things in the field. While difficult to envision in the near future, hard work by DARPA’s contestants to move this field forward will spill into our everyday commute, and improve the fate of the car manufacturers and suppliers that jump on incorporating these kinds of technologies. Crazy? iRobot’s Roomba found success in using robotic technologies to vac and mop our floors.

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As for Subaru’s patent: GPS for vehicle guidance, frankly, isn’t going to be enough as GPS is a line-of-sight technology making guidance really nasty in cities where GPS can be rendered unusable.

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