Waymo LLC (Mountain View, CA)

The invention relates generally to autonomous vehicles. These features improve security, performance, user experience, and driver experience of autonomous vehicles by conducting behavior analysis on mobile objects that are in the vehicle’s range of. In particular, the vehicle is capable of detecting nearby objects, including vehicles and pedestrians as well as identify how the vehicles and pedestrians perceive their surroundings. The autonomous vehicle can use this information to safely maneuver around all nearby objects.

Autonomous vehicles make use of different computing systems to move passengers from one place to another. Some self-driving vehicles will require being driven, controlled or with an operator. Other systems, for example autopilot systems, may be employed only after the system is activated, which allows the operator to switch from an auto mode (where the user has an extensive degree of control over the motion of the vehicle)to an autonomous mode (where the vehicle essentially drives by itself) and modes that are somewhere in between.

The invention relates to a vehicle equipped with a steering device such as wheels that turn in an automobile, or the rudder of boats, as well as an engine. The first input controller of the user could control the device that controls steering (e.g. the steering wheel in a cockpit of a vehicle), while the second user input controller controls the engine (e.g. an accelerator for an automobile or a throttle in the case of a boat) and can be controlled by a processor capable of running computer instructions. A number of sensors can be used to gather details about the environment of the vehicle (e.g. cameras, radar and laser range locaters). The processor receivesdata from the sensors, and based in part on information gathered from the sensors or received from other sources, or both, issue the navigation command. a navigation command comprises a directive to the steering device relating to the direction that is intended for thevehicle (e.g., a command to turn the front wheels of a car 10 degrees to the left) or to the engine in relation to the desired speed of the vehicle (e.g., a command to speed up). Other commands that influence the movement of the vehicle like brake or acceleration commands, may be included in navigation commands.

One of the benefits is that sensors detect several objects outside of the vehicle, and then send information to a processing unit that is corresponding to the objects. The processor analyzes the data corresponding to the objects to determine whether the object is stationary objects (e.g. automobiles, trucks, pedestrians, bicycles, etc.) Also stationary objects (e.g. signposts or buildings, trees, etc.). The processor can then determine the location and direction of the first object relative to one or more of theother observed objects. The processor then can determine the behaviour of the first object based on how it perceives its environment. The vehicle will then be capable of orienting itself autonomously at the correct position and velocity basedat least in part on the expected behaviour of the objects.

Another possibility is the possibility that the vehicle might be oriented in a manner that minimizes the possibility of collisions with the first object, as long as it is traveling in a predictable direction. For instance, if the first detected object is traveling in a first lane of traffic, and the predicted likely behavior of the detected object is that the object will change from the first lane of traffic to a second lane traffic. The command to direct the vehicle might be to have the vehicle travel in a lane of trafficother than the second lane of traffic.

Another advantage is the fact that the processor may choose another object from the group and then determine its position and movement in relation to the other. The processor may then predict the likely behavior of the second object based on the determined location and movement of the plurality of objects and also based on the likely behaviour of the initial object. The processor will then issue instructions to move the vehicle in relation to the second object based on the probable behavior of the second object.

In a different way, the processor adjusts the predicted likely behavior of the first object based on the likely behavior that is predicted by the second object. It also provides a command to orient the vehicle relative to the primary object based upon the altered likely behavior of first object.

In another way, the processor receives a request to navigate between a first location and a second location. The processor then autonomously navigates the vehicle between the first location and a second location, while simultaneouslydetermining the likely behavior of detected objects and providing a command to orient the vehicle relative to those detected objects.

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