Patents by Inventor Nathaniel Fairfield

Nathaniel Fairfield has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 10831636
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to validating autonomous control software for operating a vehicle autonomously. For instance, the autonomous control software is run through a driving scenario to observe an outcome for the autonomous control software. A validation model is run through the driving scenario a plurality of times to observe an outcome for the model for each of the plurality of times. Whether the software passed the driving scenario is determined based on whether the outcome for the software indicates that a virtual vehicle under control of the software collided with another object during the single time. Whether the validation model passed the driving scenario is determined based on whether the outcome for the model indicates that a virtual vehicle under control of the model collided with another object in any one of the plurality of times. The software is validated based on the determinations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 8, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 10, 2020
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Franklin Morley, Omer Baror, Nathaniel Fairfield, Miner Crary
  • Publication number: 20200348691
    Abstract: Examples described may enable provision of remote assistance for an autonomous vehicle. An example method includes a computing system operating by default in a first mode and periodically transitioning from operation in the first mode to operation in a second mode. In the first mode, the system may receive environment data provided by the vehicle and representing object(s) having a detection confidence below a threshold, where the detection confidence is indicative of a likelihood of correct identification of the object(s), and responsive to the object(s) having a confidence below the threshold, provide remote assistance data comprising an instruction to control the vehicle and/or a correct identification of the object(s). In the second mode, the system may trigger user interface display of remote assistor alertness data based on pre-stored data related to an environment in which the pre-stored data was acquired, and receive a response relating to the alertness data.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 16, 2020
    Publication date: November 5, 2020
    Inventors: Nathaniel Fairfield, Joshua Herbach
  • Publication number: 20200341478
    Abstract: A route for a trip to a destination is generated using map information. A set of no-go roadway segments, where the vehicle is not able to drive in an autonomous mode, relevant to the route from the plurality of no-go roadway segments is identified from the map information. A local region around a current location of the vehicle is determined. A local map region including roadway segments of the map information that correspond to locations within the local region is determined. The set of the plurality of no-go roadway segments is filtered from the roadway segments of the local map region. A cost value is assigned to each roadway segment of the filtered roadway segments of the local map region. Any assigned cost values are used to determining a plan for maneuvering the vehicle for a predetermined period into the future. The vehicle is maneuvered according to the plan.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 13, 2020
    Publication date: October 29, 2020
    Inventors: Nathaniel Fairfield, Joshua Seth Herbach
  • Patent number: 10796581
    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: May 15, 2019
    Date of Patent: October 6, 2020
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Joshua Seth Herbach, Philip Nemec, Nathaniel Fairfield
  • Patent number: 10782695
    Abstract: Disclosed herein are methods and apparatus for controlling autonomous vehicles utilizing maps that include visibility information. A map is stored at a computing device associated with a vehicle. The vehicle is configured to operate in an autonomous mode that supports a plurality of driving behaviors. The map includes information about a plurality of roads, a plurality of features, and visibility information for at least a first feature in the plurality of features. The computing device queries the map for visibility information for the first feature at a first position. The computing device, in response to querying the map, receives the visibility information for the first feature at the first position. The computing device selects a driving behavior for the vehicle based on the visibility information. The computing device controls the vehicle in accordance with the selected driving behavior.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 24, 2018
    Date of Patent: September 22, 2020
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: David Ian Franklin Ferguson, Nathaniel Fairfield, Bradley Templeton
  • Patent number: 10766486
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to testing predictions of an autonomous vehicle relating to another vehicle or object in a roadway. For instance, one or more processors may plan to maneuver the autonomous vehicle to complete an action and predict that the other vehicle will take a responsive action. The autonomous vehicle is then maneuvered towards completing the action in a way that would allow the autonomous vehicle to cancel completing the action without causing a collision between the first vehicle and the second vehicle, and in order to indicate to the second vehicle or a driver of the second vehicle that the first vehicle is attempting to complete the action. Thereafter, when the first vehicle is determined to be able to take the action, the action is completed by controlling the first vehicle autonomously using the determination of whether the second vehicle begins to take the particular responsive action.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 2018
    Date of Patent: September 8, 2020
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Nathaniel Fairfield, Vadim Furman
  • Patent number: 10761542
    Abstract: Examples described may enable provision of remote assistance for an autonomous vehicle. An example method includes a computing system operating by default in a first mode and periodically transitioning from operation in the first mode to operation in a second mode. In the first mode, the system may receive environment data provided by the vehicle and representing object(s) having a detection confidence below a threshold, where the detection confidence is indicative of a likelihood of correct identification of the object(s), and responsive to the object(s) having a confidence below the threshold, provide remote assistance data comprising an instruction to control the vehicle and/or a correct identification of the object(s). In the second mode, the system may trigger user interface display of remote assistor alertness data based on pre-stored data related to an environment in which the pre-stored data was acquired, and receive a response relating to the alertness data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 22, 2017
    Date of Patent: September 1, 2020
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Nathaniel Fairfield, Joshua Herbach
  • Patent number: 10739780
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to an autonomous vehicle that may detected other nearby vehicles and identify them as parked or unparked. This identification may be based on visual indicia displayed by the detected vehicles as well as traffic control factors relating to the detected vehicles. Detected vehicles that are in a known parking spot may automatically be identified as parked. In addition, detected vehicles that satisfy conditions that are indications of being parked may also be identified as parked. The autonomous vehicle may then base its control strategy on whether or not a vehicle has been identified as parked or not.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2020
    Assignee: WAYMO LLC
    Inventors: David Harrison Silver, Jur Pieter Van Den Berg, Nathaniel Fairfield
  • Patent number: 10705526
    Abstract: The technology relates to identifying sensor occlusions due to the limits of the ranges of a vehicle's sensors and using this information to maneuver the vehicle. As an example, the vehicle is maneuvered along a route that includes traveling on a first roadway and crossing over a lane of a second roadway. A trajectory is identified from the lane that will cross with the route during the crossing at a first point. A second point beyond a range of the vehicle's sensors is selected. The second point corresponds to a hypothetical vehicle moving towards the route along the lane. A distance between the first point and the second point is determined. An amount of time that it would take the hypothetical vehicle to travel the distance is determined and compared to a threshold amount of time. The vehicle is maneuvered based on the comparison to complete the crossing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 17, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 7, 2020
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Brandon Douglas Luders, Vadim Furman, Nathaniel Fairfield
  • Patent number: 10691131
    Abstract: A route for a trip to a destination is generated using map information. A set of no-go roadway segments, where the vehicle is not able to drive in an autonomous mode, relevant to the route from the plurality of no-go roadway segments is identified from the map information. A local region around a current location of the vehicle is determined. A local map region including roadway segments of the map information that correspond to locations within the local region is determined. The set of the plurality of no-go roadway segments is filtered from the roadway segments of the local map region. A cost value is assigned to each roadway segment of the filtered roadway segments of the local map region. Any assigned cost values are used to determining a plan for maneuvering the vehicle for a predetermined period into the future. The vehicle is maneuvered according to the plan.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 9, 2018
    Date of Patent: June 23, 2020
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Nathaniel Fairfield, Joshua Seth Herbach
  • Publication number: 20200192385
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to arranging a pickup between a driverless vehicle and a passenger. For instance, dispatch instructions dispatching the vehicle to a predetermined pickup area in order to pick up the passenger are received by the vehicle which begins maneuvering to the predetermined pickup area. While doing so, the vehicle receives from the passenger's client computing device the device's location. An indication that the passenger is interested in a fly-by pickup is identified. The fly-by pickup allows the passenger to safely enter the vehicle at a location outside of the predetermined pickup area and prior to the one or more processors have maneuvered the vehicle to the predetermined pickup area. The vehicle determines that the fly-by pickup is appropriate based on at least the location of the client computing device and the indication, and based on the determination, maneuvers itself in order to attempt the fly-by pickup.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 29, 2020
    Publication date: June 18, 2020
    Inventors: Nathaniel Fairfield, Joshua Seth Herbach, Christopher Kennedy Ludwick, Matthew Paul McNaughton, Renaud-Roland Hubert, Jennifer Arden, Min Li Chan
  • Patent number: 10671084
    Abstract: A system and method is provided for identifying an object along a road, where the object may be represented by a bounding box, and projecting a set of obstacle points within the bounding box corresponding to the identified object. In one aspect, a two-dimensional plane oriented perpendicular to a direction of the movement of the vehicle may be identified. In another aspect, the areas of the plane that may be occupied based on the set of obstacle points may be determined to generate a contour of the identified object. Thereafter, the height profiles of the identified object and the vehicle may be determined and identified, respectively. Based on the height profiles, a minimum clearance may be determined.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 28, 2019
    Date of Patent: June 2, 2020
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Nathaniel Fairfield, Ian James Mahon
  • Publication number: 20200125989
    Abstract: The disclosure relates to training models for identification of events likely to cause discomfort to passengers of autonomous vehicles and for assessment of overall ride quality of autonomous vehicle rides. For instance, ride data may be associated with a ride quality value indicative of a level of discomfort and/or a first overall ride quality value indicating an overall ride quality provided by the passenger for the first ride. This ride data may be used to train a model such that the model is configured to, in response to receiving ride data for a second ride as input, output a list of events likely to cause discomfort to a passenger during the second ride and/or such that the model is configured to, in response to receiving second ride data for a second ride as input, output a second overall ride quality value for the second ride.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 10, 2018
    Publication date: April 23, 2020
    Inventors: Ioan-Alexandru Sucan, Fang Da, Poonam Suryanarayan, Nathaniel Fairfield, Yutaka Leon Suematsu, Omer Baror, Jian Leong, Michael Epstein
  • Patent number: 10591916
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to arranging a pickup between a driverless vehicle and a passenger. For instance, dispatch instructions dispatching the vehicle to a predetermined pickup area in order to pick up the passenger are received by the vehicle which begins maneuvering to the predetermined pickup area. While doing so, the vehicle receives from the passenger's client computing device the device's location. An indication that the passenger is interested in a fly-by pickup is identified. The fly-by pickup allows the passenger to safely enter the vehicle at a location outside of the predetermined pickup area and prior to the one or more processors have maneuvered the vehicle to the predetermined pickup area. The vehicle determines that the fly-by pickup is appropriate based on at least the location of the client computing device and the indication, and based on the determination, maneuvers itself in order to attempt the fly-by pickup.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2020
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Nathaniel Fairfield, Joshua Seth Herbach, Christopher Kennedy Ludwick, Matthew Paul McNaughton, Renaud-Roland Hubert, Jennifer Arden, Min Li Chan
  • Patent number: 10572717
    Abstract: A method and apparatus are provided for optimizing one or more object detection parameters used by an autonomous vehicle to detect objects in images. The autonomous vehicle may capture the images using one or more sensors. The autonomous vehicle may then determine object labels and their corresponding object label parameters for the detected objects. The captured images and the object label parameters may be communicated to an object identification server. The object identification server may request that one or more reviewers identify objects in the captured images. The object identification server may then compare the identification of objects by reviewers with the identification of objects by the autonomous vehicle. Depending on the results of the comparison, the object identification server may recommend or perform the optimization of one or more of the object detection parameters.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 27, 2019
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2020
    Assignee: WAYMO LLC
    Inventors: Jiajun Zhu, Christopher Paul Urmson, Dirk Haehnel, Nathaniel Fairfield, Russell Leigh Smith
  • Publication number: 20200033877
    Abstract: Disclosed herein are systems and methods for providing supplemental identification abilities to an autonomous vehicle system. The sensor unit of the vehicle may be configured to receive data indicating an environment of the vehicle, while the control system may be configured to operate the vehicle. The vehicle may also include a processing unit configured to analyze the data indicating the environment to determine at least one object having a detection confidence below a threshold. Based on the at least one object having a detection confidence below a threshold, the processor may communicate at least a subset of the data indicating the environment for further processing. The vehicle is also configured to receive an indication of an object confirmation of the subset of the data. Based on the object confirmation of the subset of the data, the processor may alter the control of the vehicle by the control system.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 6, 2019
    Publication date: January 30, 2020
    Inventors: David Ian Ferguson, Wan-Yen Lo, Nathaniel Fairfield
  • Patent number: 10545023
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to providing pickup or drop off locations for transport services. In one example relating to a pickup location, a preferred location is identified. A plurality of possible locations is determined based on the preferred location and a set of heuristics including identifying at least one point on an opposite side of a roadway as the preferred location. For each given possible location of the plurality of possible locations, a route between a current location of a vehicle and that given possible location is determined. For each given possible location of the plurality of possible locations a cost value for the determined route of that given possible location is determined. A possible location is selected based on the determined cost values and provided as a pickup or drop off location for a passenger or cargo.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 23, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 28, 2020
    Assignee: WAYMO LLC
    Inventors: Joshua Seth Herbach, Nathaniel Fairfield
  • Publication number: 20200019166
    Abstract: Example systems and methods enable an autonomous vehicle to request assistance from a remote operator when the vehicle's confidence in operation is low. One example method includes operating an autonomous vehicle in a first autonomous mode. The method may also include identifying a situation where a level of confidence of an autonomous operation in the first autonomous mode is below a threshold level. The method may further include sending a request for assistance to a remote assistor, the request including sensor data representative of a portion of an environment of the autonomous vehicle. The method may additionally include receiving a response from the remote assistor, the response indicating a second autonomous mode of operation. The method may also include causing the autonomous vehicle to operate in the second autonomous mode of operation in accordance with the response from the remote assistor.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 5, 2019
    Publication date: January 16, 2020
    Inventors: Nathaniel Fairfield, Joshua Seth Herbach
  • Patent number: 10513286
    Abstract: Aspects of the present disclosure relate to a vehicle for maneuvering a passenger to a destination autonomously. The vehicle includes a computing system and a set of user input buttons for communicating requests to stop the vehicle and to initiate a trip to the destination with the computing system The vehicle has no steering wheel and no user inputs for the steering, acceleration, and deceleration of the vehicle other than the set of user input buttons. In order to safely test the vehicle, a removable manual control system may be used. The system may include a housing having an electronic connection to a computing system of the vehicle. The housing includes a steering input configured to allow a passenger to control the direction of the vehicle. The system also includes one or more computing devices configured to receive input from the steering input and send instructions the computing system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 24, 2019
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Christopher John Stoffel, Brian Douglas Cullinane, Nathaniel Fairfield, Alex Khaykin, Brian Torcellini
  • Patent number: RE48322
    Abstract: Methods and systems for detection of a construction zone sign are described. A computing device, configured to control the vehicle, may be configured to receive, from an image-capture device coupled to the computing device, images of a vicinity of the road on which the vehicle is travelling. Also, the computing device may be configured to determine image portions in the images that may depict sides of the road at a predetermined height range. Further, the computing device may be configured to detect a construction zone sign in the image portions, and determine a type of the construction zone sign. Accordingly, the computing device may be configured to modify a control strategy associated with a driving behavior of the vehicle; and control the vehicle based on the modified control strategy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 7, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 24, 2020
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Nathaniel Fairfield, David I. Ferguson, Abhijit S. Ogale, Matthew Wang, Yangli Hector Yee