Amazon gets new patent for road network, adding to rumors of driverless delivery trucks

Article by Christian A., on January 20, 2017

Amazon is now moving beyond the four corners of online retailing. Only recently, the retail giant has been awarded a patent for its Road Network system. Since the patented technology is specifically made for self-driving vehicles, it goes without saying that Amazon is also headed towards the autonomous future.

Amazon’s roadway management deals with autonomous vehicles that the company would possibly use in delivering their products to their consumers. The system lets the vehicles determine which lanes are most suitable for the current traffic situation. This is very useful on multiple lanes as it comes with features that can read overhead signals. That way, the vehicle can switch to reversible lanes as needed.

The technology works by defining the current requirements of the autonomous vehicle at a given situation. Aside from maximizing the traffic flow on the highways, it can help in traffic management in several ways such as maximizing the speed of the vehicles as well as boost the parking and toll revenue.

Although Amazon owns and operates the proposed network, other vehicles could also benefit with the same technology. Basically, the system allows the autonomous vehicles to establish some sort of communication to the outside. This is done through the use of a highly advanced computer network. This computer network system is updated with the latest transportation information including the current network data.

Other tech companies like Uber has already launched a trucking division after it acquired Otto, a startup company specializing in self-driving trucks. Audi on the other hand has also introduced its latest Traffic Light information system while BMW comes out with its own traffic light reader. But as of now, Amazon hasn’t said anything concrete regarding its plans.

It also has been rumored that the online retailer is working on self-driving delivery trucks together with Prime Air, the company’s drone division. Before this new patent was granted, Amazon has also filed for a patent for “flying warehouses filled with drones” as well as a patented system for underground tunnel deliveries. With this new patent underway, and if action speaks louder than words, we can safely assume this is where it is going.

Only last December, Amazon purchased thousands of trailers trucks from its own online retail platform. The mere thought of self-driving delivery trucks may already give you an idea of the possible benefits --- at least in terms of speed and efficiency in delivering a package, right? Until then, let’s wait what Amazon has to say regarding the company’s autonomous future.

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