Patents Assigned to Waymo LLC
  • Patent number: 12014524
    Abstract: The technology relates to determining whether a camera is occluded. For instance, an image may be captured using a camera having red, green, and blue pixels each including a photosensor. Output values for the photosensors of each of the red pixels, green pixels, and blue pixels may be determined for the images. The output values of the green pixels may be compared to one or more of the output values of the red pixels or the output values of the blue pixels. That the camera is occluded is determined based on the comparison.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 27, 2023
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Vlad Cardei, Carl Warren Craddock
  • Patent number: 12013696
    Abstract: Aspects and implementations of the present disclosure relate to performance and safety improvements for autonomous trucking systems, such as reactive suspensions for maximizing aerodynamic performance and minimizing mechanical impact from road imperfections, automated placement of emergency signaling devices, and techniques of enhanced illumination of stopped and stranded vehicles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 2021
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventor: Andre Strobel
  • Patent number: 12007498
    Abstract: Examples relate to near-field radar filters that can enhance measurements near a radar unit. An example may involve receiving a first set of radar reflection signals at a radar unit coupled to a vehicle and determining a filter configured to offset near-field effects of radar reflection signals received at the radar unit. In some instances, the filter depends on an azimuth angle and a distance for surfaces in the environment causing the first set of radar reflection signals. The example may also involve receiving, at the radar unit, a second set of radar reflection signals and determining, using the filter, an azimuth angle and a distance for surfaces in the environment causing the second set of radar reflection signals. The vehicle may be controlled based in part on the azimuth angle and the distance for the surfaces causing the second plurality of radar reflection signals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 19, 2020
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Timothy Campbell, Brett Coon
  • Patent number: 12007487
    Abstract: A method of updating a clock associated with an autonomous vehicle includes determining, at a processor, a sensor-based position of the autonomous vehicle. The sensor-based position is determined based on data from one or more sensors and based on a digital map accessible to the processor. The method also includes determining, at the processor, a global positioning system (GPS) computed position of the autonomous vehicle and a GPS time. The GPS computed position and the GPS time are determined based on a plurality of GPS signals received from GPS satellites. The method further includes comparing the sensor-based position to the GPS computed position to determine whether the sensor-based position is within a threshold distance from the GPS computed position. The method also includes updating the clock associated with the autonomous vehicle based on the GPS time in response to a determination that the sensor-based position is within the threshold distance from the GPS computed position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 2021
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventor: Craig Robinson
  • Patent number: 12005891
    Abstract: A system and method are provided for early detection of objects by a perception system of a vehicle, and triggering a precautionary action by the vehicle in response without waiting for a more precise detection. The vehicle has a multi-level sensor range, wherein a first level of the sensor range is adjacent an outer bounds of the sensor range and has a first confidence value, and a second level of the sensor range is within the first range and has a second, higher confidence value. In situations when oncoming traffic is traveling at a high rate of speed, the vehicle responds to noisier detections, or objects perceived with a lower degree of confidence, rather than waiting for verification which may come too late.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 25, 2022
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventor: Brandon Douglas Luders
  • Patent number: 12005897
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to identifying and adjusting speed plans for controlling a vehicle in an autonomous driving mode. In one example, an initial speed plan for controlling speed of the vehicle for a first predetermined period of time corresponding to an amount of time along a route of the vehicle is identified. Data identifying an object and characteristics of that object is received from a perception system of the vehicle. A trajectory for the object that will intersect with the route at an intersection point at particular point in time is predicted using the data. A set of constraints is generated based on at least the trajectory. The speed plan is adjusted in order to satisfy the set of constraints for a second predetermined period of time corresponding to the amount of time. The vehicle is maneuvered in the autonomous driving mode according to the adjusted speed plan.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 21, 2023
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Jens-Steffen Ralf Gutmann, Vadim Furman, Tobias Kunz
  • Patent number: 12005906
    Abstract: The technology relates to identifying and addressing aberrant driver behavior. Various driving operations may be evaluated over different time scales and driving distances. The system can detect driving errors and suboptimal maneuvering, which are evaluated by an onboard driver assistance system and compared against a model of expected driver behavior. The result of this comparison can be used to alert the driver or take immediate corrective driving action. It may also be used for real-time or offline training or sensor calibration purposes. The behavior model may be driver-specific, or may be a nominal driver model based on aggregated information from many drivers. These approaches can be employed with drivers of passenger vehicles, busses, cargo trucks and other vehicles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 8, 2020
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventor: David Harrison Silver
  • Patent number: 12005926
    Abstract: Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on computer storage media, for using traffic light viewsheds. One of the methods includes obtaining, by an on-board computer system of vehicle, viewshed data comprising a plurality of viewsheds for a plurality of respective traffic lights. An indication of a candidate driving plan that uses input from a traffic light detection of a particular traffic light having a viewshed is received. If a current location of the vehicle is within the particular viewshed for the particular traffic light, execution of the candidate driving plan is conditioned based on whether the current location of the vehicle is within the particular viewshed for the particular traffic light.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 2021
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventor: David Yonchar Margines
  • Patent number: 12005927
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to enabling playing of content at an autonomous vehicle. For example, a request to transport a user on a trip may be received. The autonomous vehicle may be assigned to the trip. Whether the user has enabled a content feature may be determined. In response to determining that the user has enabled the content feature a request for a device identifier is sent to the autonomous vehicle. The device identifier generated at the autonomous vehicle is received. The received device identifier may be sent to a content-enabling computing system including one or more processors in order to enable the user to play content from the client computing device at the autonomous vehicle during the trip.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 7, 2021
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Matthew Corey Hall, Maria Moon, Orlee Smith, Erik Wolsheimer, Kyle Bechtel
  • Patent number: 11999269
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to vehicles capable of autonomous driving. These vehicles may include seats for accommodating different numbers of passengers. In some cases, the seats may be reconfigurable. For instance, a vehicle may include a first row of seating having a first, passenger use configuration. The first row may allow a passenger to sit in a seat of the first row of seating and access user input controls for the vehicle. The first row of seating may also have a second, folded configuration where the first row is in a folded configuration and no longer usable for passenger seating. The vehicle may also have a second row of seating. When the first row of seating is in the second, folded configuration, the second row of seating may still be usable for seating and may include additional legroom for the passenger as compared to when the first row of seating is in the first passenger use configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 2021
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: YooJung Ahn, David Tse-Zhou Lu, Min Li Chan, Brian Douglas Cullinane, Adam Lee Frost, Philippe Robert Agostino Holland, Hassan Rashid Mir, Marcos Aniceto Villalón Caro, Isaac Lopes Nogueras
  • Patent number: 12001217
    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: April 11, 2022
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: David I. Ferguson, Jiajun Zhu
  • Patent number: 12003894
    Abstract: Systems, apparatus, and methods are presented for event detection. One method may include receiving event data from an event capture device while the event capture device is in a stationary state. The event capture device may be coupled to a vehicle. The method may also include generating a command and sending the command to the event capture device. The command is configured to cause the event capture device to change from the stationary state to a non-stationary state.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 2020
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Vlad Constantin Cardei, Lucian Ion
  • Patent number: 12002367
    Abstract: Aspects of the present disclosure relate to a system having a memory, a plurality of self-driving systems for controlling a vehicle, and one or more processors. The processors are configured to receive at least one fallback task in association with a request for a primary task and at least one trigger of each fallback task. Each trigger is a set of conditions that, when satisfied, indicate when a vehicle requires attention for proper operation. The processors are also configured to send instructions to the self-driving systems to execute the primary task and receive status updates from the self-driving systems. The processors are configured to determine that a set of conditions of a trigger is satisfied based on the status updates and send further instructions based on the associated fallback task to the self-driving systems.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 8, 2022
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Joshua Seth Herbach, Philip Nemec, Nathaniel Fairfield
  • Patent number: 11993288
    Abstract: Example embodiments relate to a method for cut-in identification and classification. An example embodiment includes a obtaining operational data about one or more vehicles; based on the operational data, identifying the presence of one or more cut-ins within the operational data; extracting, from the operational data, cut-in data that depicts one or more of the cut-ins identified within the operational data; and, based on the extracted cut-in data, training a model for controlling an autonomous vehicle. Identifying the presence of a given cut-in includes: determining that at least one vertex of a bounding box surrounding a vehicle was located more than a threshold distance within a lane being navigated by a given vehicle; and determining that the ability of the given vehicle to maintain its course and speed was impeded by the presence of the particular additional vehicle within the lane.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 2021
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Pablo Abad, Aman Ved Kalia, Juan Gomez-Ramos, Jiayi Chen, Jasman Singh Malik, Joe Riggs
  • Patent number: 11994802
    Abstract: Systems and methods described herein relate to the manufacture of optical elements and optical systems. An example system may include an optical component configured to direct light from a light source to illuminate a photoresist material at a desired angle and to expose at least a portion of an angled structure in the photoresist material, where the photoresist material overlays at least a portion of a top surface of a substrate. The optical component includes a container containing an light-coupling material that is selected based in part on the desired angle. The optical component also includes a mirror arranged to reflect at least a portion of the light to illuminate the photoresist material at the desired angle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 1, 2021
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: James Dunphy, David Hutchison
  • Patent number: 11996677
    Abstract: A method includes applying, by a switching circuit, pulses of an input voltage to an input of an inductor. The method includes charging, in accordance with an off state of a switch, a charge storage device through the inductor using the pulses of the input voltage such that the circuit node develops a charge voltage that is greater than the input voltage. The method includes discharging, in accordance with an on state of the switch, the charge storage device such that a first portion of the charge voltage is applied to a light emitter and a second portion of the charge voltage is applied to parasitic inductance. The method includes controlling, by a controller, a timing of the pulses of the input voltage applied by the switching circuit based on a parasitic inductance from a previous charging cycle of the charge storage device, so as to control the charge voltage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Joshua Jones, Augusto Tazzoli, Pierre-yves Droz
  • Patent number: 11989116
    Abstract: The disclosure relates to testing software for operating an autonomous vehicle. For instance, a first simulation may be run. The simulation may be run using the software to control a simulated vehicle and at least one agent. During the running of the first simulation, whether a particular type of interaction between the simulated vehicle and the at least one agent has occurred may be determined. In response to this determination, a second simulation may be run using the log data by replacing the at least one agent with a model agent that simulates a road user capable of responding to actions performed by the simulated vehicle. The second simulation may be used to determine in order to determine whether the software is able to complete the second simulation without the particular type of interaction between a second simulated vehicle and the model agent occurring.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 2022
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Carl Nygaard, Alexander Ruben Stacey McCarthy, James Stout
  • Patent number: 11987237
    Abstract: A computer-implemented method is provided that involves determining, based on map data, an approaching merge region comprising an on-ramp merging with a road comprising one or more lanes, wherein a truck is traveling on an initial lane of the road according to a navigation plan. The method involves an indication of movement of a vehicle on the on-ramp, wherein the indication of movement is based on data collected by one or more sensors configured to capture sensor data from an environment surrounding the truck. The method involves determining, for the on-ramp and the one or more lanes, respective avoidance scores indicative of a likelihood of an interaction between the truck and the vehicle based on the approaching merge region. The method involves updating the navigation plan based on the respective avoidance scores. The method also involves controlling the truck to execute a driving strategy based on the updated navigation plan.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 2021
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Pablo Abad, Karan Rajen Parikh, Ross Anderson, Khawaja Waqee Khalid
  • Patent number: 11988746
    Abstract: The subject matter of this specification can be implemented in, among other things, a system that includes a light source to produce a first beam and one or more first optical elements to impart an orbital angular momentum (OAM) to at least some of a plurality of output beams obtained from the first beam. The system further includes an output optical device to direct the output beams towards a target object and a plurality of photodetectors to generate signals representative of a difference between an input phase information, carried by one or more beams reflected from the target object, and an output phase information, carried by one of local copies of the output beams. The system further includes a processing device to determine, using the difference between the input phase information and the output phase information, one or more orthogonal components of a velocity of the target object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 24, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Bryce Remesch, Nicholas Armstrong-Crews
  • Patent number: 11989666
    Abstract: The technology relates to predicting that an object is going to enter into a trajectory of a vehicle. This may include receiving sensor data identifying a first location of the object in an environment of the vehicle at a first point in time and receiving sensor data identifying a second location of the object in the environment at a second point in time. In addition, a boundary of the trajectory is determined by defining at least a two-dimensional area through which the vehicle is expected to travel in the future. A first distance between the boundary and the first location and a second distance between the trajectory and the second location are determined. The first distance and the second distance are used to determine that the object is going to enter into the trajectory at a future point in time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2023
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2024
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Jens-Steffen Ralf Gutmann, Zhinan Xu