If you’re yearning for the days of self-driving cars, Amazon looks like it may be joining the cause. According to a new patent deal, Amazon seems to be working on developing its own self-driving cars. The patent was filed in November of 2015 and was granted this Tuesday. The patent addresses the issue of reversible lanes, which could change which could change direction depending on the flow of traffic. These reversible lanes are usually used to manage commuter traffic in and out of busy cities. While Amazon hasn’t yet made an official announcement explicitly about developing its own self-driving vehicle, the patent certainly hints at its plans to join the autonomous car market. Unconfirmed rumors suggest that Amazon has been developing self-driving vehicles out of their drone division, Prime Air. Amazon has also been making some news as it’s moved into the trucking logistics space, buying up its own fleet of tracks while simultaneously developing an app that would make shipping processes much more efficient.
The ideas discussed in the patent describes a network where vehicles can communicate with each other so that they can react to changes in the flow of traffic. The proposed roadway management system would also assign lanes to each vehicle depending on which direction the car is heading and what would best help traffic. The speed of each self-driving car and the number occupants per vehicle are additional factors that will be considered.
“The roadway management system can determine the direction of travel for lanes in a roadway and direct autonomous automobiles to enter the roadway in a particular lane,” the filing says. “Additionally, an autonomous vehicle may be unaware of an optimal lane at which to enter a roadway that has reversible lanes.”
“The roadway management system can identify a period of time and a particular lane of the roadway that is best suited to assign to the autonomous vehicle while taking into account an outcome directive,” an Amazon tech expert told Geekwire.
This news comes after Amazon filed a patent for massive floating warehouses to store its squadron of delivery drones. Stored above high density areas, these drone-warehouses could delivery packages at a much faster rate to accommodate demand.