Patents Assigned to Waymo LLC
  • Patent number: 11327162
    Abstract: The technology relates to fiducials for calibrating or validating a vehicle's sensors. One or more computing devices receive a plurality of data sets captured by the sensors from the plurality of fiducials. Each of the data sets corresponds to a respective sensor of the plurality of sensors. The one or more computing devices determine whether data in each of the plurality of data sets contains expected data representative of a respective fiducial of the plurality of fiducials. For each of the respective sensors, the one or more computing devices output a calibration status or a validation status associated with each data set that contains the expected data representative of the respective fiducial.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Volker Grabe, Andrew Crawford
  • Patent number: 11327507
    Abstract: Aspects of the technology relate to exception handling for a vehicle. For instance, a current trajectory for the vehicle and sensor data corresponding to one or more objects may be received. Based on the received sensor data, projected trajectories of the one or more objects may be determined. Potential collisions with the one or more objects may be determined based on the projected trajectories and the current trajectory. One of the potential collisions that is earliest in time may be identified. Based on the one of the potential collisions, a safety-time-horizon (STH) may be identified. When a runtime exception occurs, before performing a precautionary maneuver to avoid a collision, waiting no longer than the STH for the runtime exception to resolve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 12, 2019
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Dong Li, Matthew McNaughton, Shir Yehoshua, Aida Khosroshahi, Ioan-Alexandru Sucan
  • Patent number: 11327153
    Abstract: In another example, a method is provided that includes transmitting a first radar signal by a first channel of a plurality of channels of a radar unit. The method also includes receiving first radar reflections of the first radar signal by at least one reception antenna of the radar unit. Additionally, the method includes transmitting a second radar signal by the first channel. The method further includes receiving second radar reflections of the second radar signal by at least one reception antenna. Yet further, the method includes processing the received radar reflections from the first and second radar reflections to determine a platform movement parameter. Additionally, a virtual array may be constructed and radar signals received at common location of the virtual array may be used to determine a platform movement parameter. Moreover, the method includes operating the radar unit based on an offset determined from the platform movement parameter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 1, 2019
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Timothy Campbell, Kevin Duncklee
  • Patent number: 11330253
    Abstract: Methods, systems, and apparatus for a stray-light testing apparatus. In one aspect, the apparatus includes an optical assembly including a spatially extended light source and one or more optical elements arranged to direct light from the spatially extended light source along an optical path, a moveable frame supporting the optical assembly including one or more adjustable alignment features for guiding positioning of the stray-light testing apparatus relative to an onboard camera on a vehicle, and a shrouding mechanism attached to the frame and positioned on the frame such that, when the stray-light testing apparatus is aligned relative to the onboard camera on the vehicle and the optical path of the optical assembly is within the field of view of the onboard camera, ambient light exposure for the onboard camera is below a threshold.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Chen David Lu, Erik Chubb
  • Patent number: 11327493
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to determining whether a feature of map information. For example, data identifying an object detected in a vehicle's environment and including location coordinates is received. This information is used to identify a corresponding feature from pre-stored map information based on a map location of the corresponding feature. The corresponding feature is defined as a curve and associated with a tag identifying a type of the corresponding object. A tolerance constraint is identified based on the tag. The curve is divided into two or more line segments. Each line segment has a first position. The first position of a line segment is changed in order to determine a second position based on the location coordinates and the tolerance constraint. A value is determined based on a comparison of the first position to the second position. This value indicates a likelihood that the corresponding feature has changed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: David Harrison Silver, David I. Ferguson
  • Patent number: 11327501
    Abstract: Methods and systems are disclosed for determining sensor degradation by actively controlling an autonomous vehicle. Determining sensor degradation may include obtaining sensor readings from a sensor of an autonomous vehicle, and determining baseline state information from the obtained sensor readings. A movement characteristic of the autonomous vehicle, such as speed or position, may then be changed. The sensor may then obtain additional sensor readings, and second state information may be determined from these additional sensor readings. Expected state information may be determined from the baseline state information and the change in the movement characteristic of the autonomous vehicle. A comparison of the expected state information and the second state information may then be performed. Based on this comparison, a determination may be made as to whether the sensor has degraded.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 7, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: David I. Ferguson, Jiajun Zhu
  • Patent number: 11328519
    Abstract: Machine-learning models are described detecting the signaling state of a traffic signaling unit. A system can obtain an image of the traffic signaling unit, and select a model of the traffic signaling unit that identifies a position of each traffic lighting element on the unit. First and second neural network inputs are processed with a neural network to generate an estimated signaling state of the traffic signaling unit. The first neural network input can represent the image of the traffic signaling unit, and the second neural network input can represent the model of the traffic signaling unit. Using the estimated signaling state of the traffic signaling unit, the system can inform a driving decision of a vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 23, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Edward Hsiao, Yu Ouyang, Maoqing Yao
  • Publication number: 20220135085
    Abstract: The technology employs a holistic approach to passenger pickups and other wayfinding situations. This includes identifying where passengers are relative to the vehicle and/or the pickup location. Information synthesis from different sensors, agent behavior prediction models, and real-time situational awareness are employed to identify the likelihood that the passenger to be picked up is at a given location at a particular point in time, with sufficient confidence. The system can provide adaptive navigation by helping passengers understand their distance and direction to the vehicle, for instance using various cues via an app on the person's device. Rider support tools may be provided, which enable a remote agent to interact with a customer via that person's device, such as using the camera on the device to provide wayfinding support to enable the person to find their vehicle. Ride support may also use sensor information from the vehicle when providing wayfinding support.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 27, 2021
    Publication date: May 5, 2022
    Applicant: WAYMO LLC
    Inventors: Clement Wright, Lauren Schwendimann, Maria Moon, Kevin Malta, Ganesh Balachandran, Jonathan Pedersen, Daniella Gutlansky
  • Patent number: 11320608
    Abstract: An article of manufacture includes a support structure including a cladding material and defining therein a plurality of substantially parallel cores. The article also includes a plurality of conically-shaped spikes protruding from a first side of the support structure. Each respective conically-shaped spike of the plurality of conically-shaped spikes includes a core material (i) extending through a corresponding core of the plurality of substantially parallel cores and (ii) comprising an axial protrusion that protrudes axially from the cladding material at the first side of the support structure. The axial protrusion of the core material is tapered to form the respective conically-shaped spike. The article also includes a refractory metal layer coating at least a portion of each respective conically-shaped spike and one or more electrodes connected to the refractory metal layer and configured to apply a voltage to the refractory metal layer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 17, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventor: John Simpson
  • Patent number: 11320272
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure provide for localizing a vehicle. In one instance, a weather condition in which the vehicle is currently driving may be identified. A plurality of sensor inputs including intensity information, elevation information, and radar sensor information may be received. For each of the plurality of sensor inputs, an alignment score is determined by comparing the intensity information, elevation information, and radar sensor information to a corresponding pre-stored image for each of the intensity information, the elevation information, and the radar sensor information. A set of weights for the plurality of sensor inputs may be determined based on the identified weather condition. The alignment scores may then be combined using the set of weights in order to localize the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Samuel Panzer, Michael Montemerlo, Michael James
  • Patent number: 11323599
    Abstract: A camera includes a camera focus adjustment device, a lens, and an image sensor coupled to the camera focus adjustment device. The camera focus adjustment device includes a flexure structure. The flexure structure includes an outer framework of structural members continuously interconnected by flexure notch hinges. The flexure structure also includes two inner structural members oriented in parallel and extending from the outer framework of structural members. A gap is between the two inner structural members. The camera focus adjustment device also includes a piezoelectric material within the gap and a pair of wedges within the gap. The pair of wedges is affixed to the piezoelectric material and to one inner structural member of the two inner structural members. Based on temperature-based piezoelectric activity associated with the piezoelectric material, the camera focus adjustment device is operable to move the image sensor relative to the lens.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventor: Shashank Sharma
  • Patent number: 11320124
    Abstract: Example embodiments described herein involve a system for testing a light-emitting module. The light-emitting module may include a mounting platform configured to hold a light-emitting module for a camera. The mounting platform may also be configured to rotate. The system may further include a housing holding a plurality of photodiodes arranged in an array over at least a 90 degree arc of a hemisphere. The system may also include a controller configured to control the photodiodes and the rotation of the mounting platform.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 29, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Choon Ping Chng, Cheng-Han Wu, Lucian Ion, Giulia Guidi
  • Patent number: 11321573
    Abstract: The present disclosure is directed to an autonomous vehicle having a vehicle control system. The vehicle control system includes an image processing system. The image processing system receives an image that includes a plurality of image portions. The image processing system also calculates a score for each image portion. The score indicates a level of confidence that a given image portion represents an illuminated component of a traffic light. The image processing system further identifies one or more candidate portions from among the plurality of image portions. Additionally, the image processing system determines that a particular candidate portion represents an illuminated component of a traffic light using a classifier. Further, the image processing system provides instructions to control the autonomous vehicle based on the particular candidate portion representing an illuminated component of a traffic light.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 23, 2019
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Andreas Wendel, David Ian Franklin Ferguson
  • Patent number: 11313952
    Abstract: This technology relates to a system for preventing particle buildup on a sensor housing. The system may include a sensor housing including a first surface, a motor, and a spoiler edge. The motor may be configured to rotate the sensor housing around an axis. The spoiler edge may be positioned adjacent to the first surface and extended away from the first surface perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the sensor housing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Simon Ellgas, Justin Matthew Andrade, Bryce Remesch
  • Patent number: 11315260
    Abstract: Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on computer storage media, for associating a new measurement of an object surrounding a vehicle with a maintained track. One of the methods includes receiving an object track for a particular object, receiving a new measurement characterizing a new object at a new time step, and determining whether the new object is the same as the particular object, comprising: generating a representation of the new object at the new and preceding time steps; generating a representation of the particular object at the new and preceding time steps; processing a first network input comprising the representations using a first neural network to generate an embedding of the first network input; and processing the embedding of the first network input using a second neural network to generate a predicted likelihood that the new object and the particular object are the same.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 2019
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Ruichi Yu, Sachithra Madhawa Hemachandra, Ian James Mahon, Congcong Li
  • Patent number: 11313688
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure provide for advanced trip planning for an autonomous vehicle service. For instance, an example method may include determining a potential pickup location for a user, determining a set of potential destination locations for a user, and determining a set of potential trips. For each potential trip a vehicle of a fleet of autonomous vehicles of the service may be assigned and trip information, including an estimated time of arrival for the assigned vehicle of the potential trip to reach the destination location of the potential trip, may be determined. The trip information for each potential trip may be provided for display to the user. Thereafter, confirmation information identifying one of the set of potential trips may be received, and the assigned vehicle for one first of the set of potential trips may be dispatched to pick up the user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2019
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Ben Qingzhou Wang, Salil Pandit, Clement Wright, Nirmal Patel, Saksiri Tanphaichitr, Mishika Vora
  • Publication number: 20220119011
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure provide for evaluation of a planned trajectory for an autonomous vehicle. For instance, for each of a plurality of objects, a predicted trajectory may be received. The planned trajectory may identify locations and times that the vehicle will be at those locations. For each of the plurality of objects, a grid including a plurality of cells may be generated. Occupancy of each grid for each of the plurality of objects may be determined based on the predicted trajectories. A cell of each grid which will be occupied by the vehicle at a location and time of the planned trajectory may be identified. The planned trajectory may be evaluated based on whether any identified cell is occupied by any of the plurality of objects at the time.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 15, 2020
    Publication date: April 21, 2022
    Applicant: WAYMO LLC
    Inventors: Dong Li, Tian Jin, Mingxiang Fan, Rajiv Kurian
  • Patent number: D950404
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 28, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: YooJung Ahn, Joshua Newby, Albert Shane
  • Patent number: D951161
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 2021
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: YooJung Ahn, Philipp Haban
  • Patent number: D951162
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 2021
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2022
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: YooJung Ahn, Philipp Haban