The patents is titled, Transitioning a Mixed-mode Vehicle to Autonomous Mode.
Disclosed are methods and devices for transitioning a mixed-mode autonomous vehicle from a human driven mode to an autonomously driven mode. Transitioning may include stopping a vehicle on a predefined landing strip and detecting a reference indicator. Based on the reference indicator, the vehicle may be able to know its exact position. Additionally, the vehicle may use the reference indictor to obtain an autonomous vehicle instruction via a URL. After the vehicle knows its precise location and has an autonomous vehicle instruction, it can operate in autonomous mode.
Experts confirm the patent is only for Google's specific method; it does not restrict development of rival self-driving cars.