Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A SELF-DRIVE LAND VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/023747
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
In one aspect of the present invention there is provided self-drive land vehicle comprising route tracking means arranged for tracking a predetermined route along a length of a road, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to read road data, which provides a map of said road, at predetermined intervals, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route.

Inventors:
WATSON, Dale (16/182 Raglan St, MosmanSydney, New South Wales 2088, 2088, AU)
Application Number:
AU2018/050797
Publication Date:
February 07, 2019
Filing Date:
July 31, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
BELLATOR PTY LTD (16 Alderley Ave, AlderleyBrisbane, Queensland 4051, 4051, AU)
International Classes:
G05D1/02; G01C21/36; G06K9/00; G06T7/00
Foreign References:
US20170008562A12017-01-12
US9684836B12017-06-20
US9081385B12015-07-14
US20170113696A12017-04-27
US20160180177A12016-06-23
Other References:
JO, K. ET AL.: "Precise Localization of an Autonomous Car Based on Probabilistic Noise Models of Road Surface Marker Features Using Multiple Cameras", IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, vol. 16, no. 6, December 2015 (2015-12-01), pages 3377 - 3392, XP055571472
HII I FT ' A. B. ET AL.: "Recent Progress in Road and Lane Detection: a survey", MACHINE VISION AND APPLICATIONS, vol. 25, no. 3, April 2014 (2014-04-01), pages 727 - 745, XP055571476
BERNUY, F. ET AL.: "Semantic Mapping of Large-Scale Outdoor Scenes for Autonomous Off-Road Driving", 2015 IEEE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COMPUTER VISION WORKSHOP (ICCVW, 7 December 2015 (2015-12-07), pages 124 - 130, XP032864956
SUHR, J. K. ET AL.: "Sensor Fusion-Based Low-Cost Vehicle Localization System for Complex Urban Environments", IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, vol. 18, no. 5, May 2017 (2017-05-01), pages 1078 - 1086, XP011647980
SCHREIBER, M. ET AL.: "LaneLoc: Lane Marking based Localization using Highly Accurate Maps", 2013 IEEE INTELLIGENT VEHICLES SYMPOSIUM (IV, 23 June 2013 (2013-06-23), Gold Coast, Australia, pages 449 - 454, XP032501902
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BELLATOR PATENT & TRADE MARK ATTORNEYS (16/182 Raglan St, MosmanSydney, New South Wales 2088, 2088, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
THE CLAIMS DEFINING THE INVENTION ARE AS FOLLOWS

1. A self-drive land vehicle comprising route tracking means arranged for tracking a predetermined route along a length of a road, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to read road data, which provides a map of said road, at predetermined intervals, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route.

2. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim ι wherein said road data comprises road markers applied to said road to demarcate extremities of said road or lanes thereof.

3. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 wherein said route

tracking means further comprises road marker detection means arranged for detection of said road markers.

4. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 2 or claim 3 wherein said road and lane markers comprise paint applied to a surface of a sealed road.

5. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 2 to 4 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which road markers, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on their detectability and corresponding accuracy of the detected road markers and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

6. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the preceding claims wherein said road data further comprises a surface of said road.

7. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 6 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road surface detection means arranged for detection of said road surface.

8. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the preceding claims wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which form of route tracking, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on the detectability and corresponding accuracy and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

9. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 7 or claim 8 wherein of said road surface detection and road marker detection said route tracking means substantially uses only said road surface detection due to a corresponding surface of either an unsealed or sealed road not comprising suitably detectable said road markers.

10. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 9 wherein said road surface detection means is used to detect said extremities of said width of said road and also therefore a centre of said road.

11. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 3 to 10 wherein said route tracking means is arranged for acoustic or visual detection respectively comprising, for example, radar or optic sensors.

12. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the preceding claims wherein said predetermined route comprises following said road.

13. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 1 to 11 wherein said predetermined route comprises a route entered into said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

14. A self-drive land vehicle comprising route tracking means arranged for tracking a predetermined route along a length of a road, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to compare live GPS readings, taken at predetermined intervals, with road data, which provides a map of said road, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route.

15. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 14 wherein said live GPS readings derive from said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

16. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 14 or claim 15 wherein said road data provides one or more of: a map of extremities of a width of said road; and a map of lanes of said road.

17. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 14 to 16 wherein said road data comprises road survey data of one or more longitudinal segments of said road.

18. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 14 to 17 wherein said road data is provided by satellite imaging or other corresponding technology.

19. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 18 wherein said road data is provided by whichever technology or combination thereof enables said road to be more accurately mapped.

20. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 14 to I9wherein said live GPS readings or said mapping, or both, comprises the application of one or more algorithms which preferably include statistics to increase accuracy.

21. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 14 to 20 wherein said road data further comprises road markers applied to said road to demarcate extremities of said road or lanes thereof.

22. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 21 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road marker detection means arranged for detection of said road markers.

23. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 21 or claim 22 wherein said road and lane markers comprise paint applied to a surface of a sealed road.

24. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 21 to 23 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which road markers, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on their detectability and corresponding accuracy of the detected road markers and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

25. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 14 to 24 wherein said road data further comprises a surface of said road.

26. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 25 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road surface detection means arranged for detection of said road surface.

27. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 22 to 26 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which form of route tracking, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on said detectability by said road marker detection means and corresponding accuracy and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

28. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 26 or claim 27 wherein of said road surface detection or road marker detection said route tracking means substantially uses only said road surface detection due to a corresponding surface of either an unsealed or sealed road not comprising suitably detectable said road markers. 29. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 26 to 28 wherein said road surface detection means is used to detect said extremities of said width of said road and also therefore a centre of said road.

30. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 22 to 29 wherein said route tracking means is arranged for acoustic or visual detection respectively comprising, for example, radar or optic sensors.

31. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 14 to 30

wherein said predetermined route comprises following said road.

32. A self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 14 to 30

wherein said predetermined route comprises a route entered into said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

33. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle along a predetermined route of a length of road, said system comprising route tracking means arranged for tracking said predetermined route, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to read road data, which provides a map of said road, at predetermined intervals, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route.

34. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 33 wherein said road data comprises road markers applied to said road to demarcate extremities of said road or lanes thereof.

35. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 33 or claim 34 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road marker detection means arranged for detection of said road markers.

36. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 34 or claim 35 wherein said road and lane markers comprise paint applied to a surface of a sealed road.

37. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 34 to 36 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which road markers, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on their detectability and corresponding accuracy of the detected road markers and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

38. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 33 to 37 wherein said road data further comprises a surface of said road.

39. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 38 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road surface detection means arranged for detection of said road surface.

40. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 33 to 39 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which form of route tracking, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on the detectability and corresponding accuracy and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

41. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 39 or claim 40 wherein of said road surface detection and road marker detection said route tracking means substantially uses only said road surface detection due to a corresponding surface of either an unsealed or sealed road not comprising suitably detectable said road markers.

42. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 41 wherein said road surface detection means is used to detect said extremities of said width of said road and also therefore a centre of said road.

43. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 35 to 42 wherein said route tracking means is arranged for acoustic or visual detection respectively comprising, for example, radar or optic sensors. 44. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 33 to 43 wherein said predetermined route comprises following said road. 45. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 33 to 43 wherein said predetermined route comprises a route entered into said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

46. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 33 to 45 wherein said predetermined route is remotely managed.

47. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 46 wherein said route is remotely managed to optimise traffic flow.

48. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle along a predetermined route of a length of road, said system comprising route tracking means arranged for tracking said predetermined route, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to compare live GPS readings, taken at predetermined intervals, with road data, which provides a map of said road, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route.

49. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 48 wherein said live GPS readings derive from said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

50. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 48 or claim 49 wherein said road data provides one or more of: a map of extremities of a width of said road; and a map of lanes of said road.

51. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 48 to 50 wherein said road data comprises road survey data of one or more longitudinal segments of said road.

52. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 48 to 51 wherein said road data is provided by satellite imaging or other corresponding technology.

53. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 52 wherein said road data is provided by whichever technology or combination thereof enables said road to be more accurately mapped.

54. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 48 to 53 wherein said live GPS readings or said mapping or both comprises the application of one or more algorithms which preferably include statistics to increase accuracy.

55. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 48 to 54 wherein said road data further comprises road markers applied to said road to demarcate extremities of said road or lanes thereof.

56. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 55 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road marker detection means arranged for detection of said road markers.

57. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 55 or claim 56 wherein said road and lane markers comprise paint applied to a surface of a sealed road.

58. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 55 to 57 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which road markers, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on their detectability and corresponding accuracy of the detected road markers and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

59. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 48 to 58 wherein said road data further comprises a surface of said road.

60. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 59 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road surface detection means arranged for detection of said road surface.

61. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 56 to 60 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which form of route tracking, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on said detectability by said road marker detection means and corresponding accuracy and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

62. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 60 or claim 61 wherein of said road surface detection or road marker detection said route tracking means substantially uses only said road surface detection due to a corresponding surface of either an unsealed or sealed road not comprising suitably detectable said road markers.

63. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 60 to 62 wherein said road surface detection means is used to detect said extremities of said width of said road and also therefore a centre of said road.

64. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 56 to 63 wherein said route tracking means is arranged for acoustic or visual detection respectively comprising, for example, radar or optic sensors.

65. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 48 to 64 wherein said predetermined route comprises following said road.

66. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 48 to 64 wherein said predetermined route comprises a route entered into said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

67. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 48 to 66 wherein said predetermined route is remotely managed.

68. A system of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 67 wherein said route is remotely managed to optimise traffic flow.

69. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle along a predetermined route of a length of road, said method comprising the step of providing route tracking means arranged for tracking said predetermined route, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to read road data, which provides a map of said road, at predetermined intervals, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route.

70. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 69 wherein said road data comprises road markers applied to said road to demarcate extremities of said road or lanes thereof.

71. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 69 or claim 70 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road marker detection means arranged for detection of said road markers.

72. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 70 or claim 71 wherein said road and lane markers comprise paint applied to a surface of a sealed road.

73. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 70 to 72 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which road markers, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on their detectability and corresponding accuracy of the detected road markers and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

74. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 69 to 73 wherein said road data further comprises a surface of said road.

75. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 74 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road surface detection means arranged for detection of said road surface.

76. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 69 to 75 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which form of route tracking, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on the detectability and corresponding accuracy and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

77. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 75 or claim 76 wherein of said road surface detection and road marker detection said route tracking means substantially uses only said road surface detection due to a corresponding surface of either an unsealed or sealed road not comprising suitably detectable said road markers.

78. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 77 wherein said road surface detection means is used to detect said extremities of said width of said road and also therefore a centre of said road.

79. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 71 to 78 wherein said route tracking means is arranged for acoustic or visual detection respectively comprising, for example, radar or optic sensors.

80. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 69 to 79 wherein said predetermined route comprises following said road. 81. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 69 to 79 wherein said predetermined route comprises a route entered into said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

82. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 69 to 81 wherein said predetermined route is remotely managed.

83. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 82 wherein said route is remotely managed to optimise traffic flow.

84. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle along a predetermined route of a length of road, said method comprising the step of providing route tracking means arranged for tracking said predetermined route, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to compare live GPS readings, taken at predetermined intervals, with road data, which provides a map of said road, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route.

85. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 84 wherein said live GPS readings derive from said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

86. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 84 or claim 85 wherein said road data provides one or more of: a map of extremities of a width of said road; and a map of lanes of said road.

87. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 84 to 86 wherein said road data comprises road survey data of one or more longitudinal segments of said road.

88. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 84 to 87 wherein said road data is provided by satellite imaging or other corresponding technology.

89. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 88 wherein said road data is provided by whichever technology or combination thereof enables said road to be more accurately mapped.

90. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 84 to 89 wherein said live GPS readings or said mapping or both comprises the application of one or more algorithms which preferably include statistics to increase accuracy.

91. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 84 to 90 wherein said road data further comprises road markers applied to said road to demarcate extremities of said road or lanes thereof.

92. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 91 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road marker detection means arranged for detection of said road markers.

93. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 91 or claim 92 wherein said road and lane markers comprise paint applied to a surface of a sealed road.

94. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 91 to 93 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which road markers, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on their detectability and corresponding accuracy of the detected road markers and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

95. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 84 to 94 wherein said road data further comprises a surface of said road.

96. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 95 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road surface detection means arranged for detection of said road surface.

97. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 92 to 96 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which form of route tracking, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on said detectability by said road marker detection means and corresponding accuracy and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

98. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 96 or claim 97 wherein of said road surface detection or road marker detection said route tracking means substantially uses only said road surface detection due to a corresponding surface of either an unsealed or sealed road not comprising suitably detectable said road markers.

99. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 96 to 98 wherein said road surface detection means is used to detect said extremities of said width of said road and also therefore a centre of said road.

100. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 84 to 99 wherein said route tracking means is arranged for acoustic or visual detection respectively comprising, for example, radar or optic sensors.

101. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 84 to 100 wherein said predetermined route comprises following said road.

102. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 84 to 100 wherein said predetermined route comprises a route entered into said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

103. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 84 to 102 wherein said predetermined route is remotely managed.

104. A method of tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 103

wherein said route is remotely managed to optimise traffic flow.

105. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle along a

predetermined route of a length of road, said terminal computer comprising route tracking means arranged for tracking said predetermined route, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to read road data, which provides a map of said road, at predetermined intervals, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route.

106. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 105 wherein said road data comprises road markers applied to said road to demarcate extremities of said road or lanes thereof.

107. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 105 or claim 106 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road marker detection means arranged for detection of said road markers.

108. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 106 or claim 107 wherein said road and lane markers comprise paint applied to a surface of a sealed road.

109. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 107 or claim 108 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which road markers, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on their detectability and corresponding accuracy of the detected road markers and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking. no. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 105 to 109 wherein said road data further comprises a surface of said road.

111. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 110 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road surface detection means arranged for detection of said road surface.

112. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 107 to 111 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which form of route tracking, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on the detectability and corresponding accuracy and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

113. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 111 or claim 112 wherein of said road surface detection and road marker detection said route tracking means substantially uses only said road surface detection due to a corresponding surface of either an unsealed or sealed road not comprising suitably detectable said road markers.

114. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 113 wherein said road surface detection means is used to detect said extremities of said width of said road and also therefore a centre of said road. 115. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 107 to 114 wherein said route tracking means is arranged for acoustic or visual detection respectively comprising, for example, radar or optic sensors.

116. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 105 to 115 wherein said predetermined route comprises following said road.

117. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 105 to 115 wherein said predetermined route comprises a route entered into said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

118. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 105 to 117 wherein said predetermined route is remotely managed.

119. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 118 wherein said route is remotely managed to optimise traffic flow.

120. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle along a

predetermined route of a length of road, said method comprising route tracking means arranged for tracking said predetermined route, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to compare live GPS readings, taken at predetermined intervals, with road data, which provides a map of said road, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route.

121. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 120 wherein said live GPS readings derive from said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

122. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 120 or claim 121 wherein said road data provides one or more of: a map of extremities of a width of said road; and a map of lanes of said road.

123. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 120 to 122 wherein said road data comprises road survey data of one or more longitudinal segments of said road.

124. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 120 to 123 wherein said road data is provided by satellite imaging or other corresponding technology.

125. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 124 wherein said road data is provided by whichever technology or combination thereof enables said road to be more accurately mapped.

126. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 120 to 125 wherein said live GPS readings or said mapping or both comprises the application of one or more algorithms which preferably include statistics to increase accuracy.

127. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 120 to 126 wherein said road data further comprises road markers applied to said road to demarcate extremities of said road or lanes thereof.

128. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 127 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road marker detection means arranged for detection of said road markers.

129. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 127 or claim 128 wherein said road and lane markers comprise paint applied to a surface of a sealed road.

130. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 127 to 129 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which road markers, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on their detectability and corresponding accuracy of the detected road markers and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

131. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 120 to 130 wherein said road data further comprises a surface of said road.

132. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 131 wherein said route tracking means further comprises road surface detection means arranged for detection of said road surface.

133. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 128 to 132 wherein said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which form of route tracking, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on said detectability by said road marker detection means and corresponding accuracy and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking.

134. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 132 or claim 133 wherein of said road surface detection or road marker detection said route tracking means substantially uses only said road surface detection due to a corresponding surface of either an unsealed or sealed road not comprising suitably detectable said road markers.

135. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 132 to 134 wherein said road surface detection means is used to detect said extremities of said width of said road and also therefore a centre of said road.

136. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of claims 128 to 135 wherein said route tracking means is arranged for acoustic or visual detection respectively comprising, for example, radar or optic sensors.

137. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 120 to 136 wherein said predetermined route comprises following said road.

138. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 120 to 136 wherein said predetermined route comprises a route entered into said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

139. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in any one or more of the claims 120 to 138 wherein said predetermined route is remotely managed.

140. A terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle as claimed in claim 139 wherein said route is remotely managed to optimise traffic flow.

141. A terminal computer as claimed in any one or more of claims 105 to 140 wherein said route tracking means and vehicle propelling means are arranged for communication with said vehicle

142. A terminal computer as claimed in claim 141 wherein said route tracking means and vehicle propelling means are arranged for communication with corresponding components of said vehicle.

Description:
A SELF-DRIVE LAND VEHICLE

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to self-drive vehicles.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In recent years there has been considerable research and development in relation to self- drive land vehicles. Such land vehicles suitable for use on public roads are currently undergoing testing, for example, those being developed by Google Inc..

While self-drive land vehicles such as those being developed by Google Inc. hold considerable promise they also appear to comprise a number of possible short comings. For example, they are complex and complexity is likely to increase their cost of production, the likelihood of operational difficulties, and the development timeframe. These vehicles also appear to comprise a number of features that are only necessary for drivers having very poor vision or wish to have no control over their vehicle for all or most stages of their journey. It appears therefore that these vehicles will comprise built in costs that, aside from the novelty factor, only a small percentage of the driving population really desire and are therefore happy to pay for.

It is therefore desirable to provide an alternative self-drive land vehicle which at least partly address these possible shortcomings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect of the present invention there is provided a self-drive land vehicle comprising route tracking means arranged for tracking a predetermined route along a length of a road, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to read road data, which provides a map of said road, at predetermined intervals, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route..

In another aspect of the present invention there is provided a self-drive land vehicle comprising route tracking means arranged for tracking a predetermined route along a length of a road, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to compare live GPS readings, taken at predetermined intervals, with road data, which provides a map of said road, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route.

In a still other aspect of the present invention there is provided a system of tracking a self- drive land vehicle along a predetermined route of a length of road, said system comprising route tracking means arranged for tracking said predetermined route, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to read road data, which provides a map of said road, at predetermined intervals, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route. In a yet other aspect of the present invention there is provided a system of tracking a self- drive land vehicle along a predetermined route of a length of road, said system comprising route tracking means arranged for tracking said predetermined route, within extremities of a width of said road, and vehicle propelling means for propelling said vehicle via said land, wherein said route tracking means is arranged to compare live GPS readings, taken at predetermined intervals, with road data, which provides a map of said road, and communicate with said vehicle propelling means to propel said vehicle along said predetermined route.

Preferably, said live GPS readings are provided by said vehicle's satellite navigation system.

In one preferred form of said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention said road data provides a map of extremities of a width of said road, and more preferably said lanes of said road.

Preferably, said route tracking means of said one, other, yet other and still other aspects of the present invention is arranged for receipt of said road data. In one preferred form of said one, other, yet other and still other aspects of the present invention said road data comprises road survey data of one or more longitudinal segments of said road. In these and other preferred forms of said one, other, yet other and still other aspects of the present invention said route tracking means preferably further comprises GPS navigation functionality for said comparison of live GPS readings.

In an alternative form of said one, other, yet other and still other aspects of the present invention said road data is provided by satellite imaging or other corresponding technology. However, said road data is more preferably provided by whichever technology enables said road to be more accurately mapped and this may more preferably further comprise a combination of technologies. In a still more preferred embodiment said GPS navigation functionality or said mapping or both comprises the application of one or more algorithms which preferably include statistics to increase accuracy. For example, accuracy of a single GPS reading varies considerably depending on the specific technology. GPS navigation and satellite imaging of the present invention can, and preferably does, comprise multiple readings for any given longitudinal segment of said road. The accuracy of these readings relating to a single said longitudinal segment can therefore be increased using said algorithms.

Still more preferably, said route tracking means of said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention is further arranged to detect road markers applied to said road to demarcate extremities of said road or lanes thereof. For this purpose, said route tracking means of said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention preferably further comprise road marker detection means arranged for detection of said road markers. The road and lane markers of said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention preferably comprise paint applied to a surface of a sealed road, in accordance with current practices. However, said road and lane markers of said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention preferably further comprise material arranged for detection by said road marker detection means. This could, for example, comprise any suitable material and corresponding detection means. For example, said road or lane marker paint could comprise material that is detectable acoustically or visually respectively comprising, for example, radar or optic sensors. However, said road marker detection means could comprise any suitable means of detection. In this regard it is likely that currently available collision avoidance technology, for example, may be suitable or relatively readily adaptable.

The benefit of the route tracking means also being arranged to detect said road markers is that tracking of said vehicle along said predetermined route is not dependent entirely on highly accurate GPS navigation and corresponding said road mapping. Another advantage is that said route tracking means has built in redundancy. As long as said GPS navigation and road mapping is functioning, and with the necessary accuracy, to locate said vehicle upon said road then, if necessary and if said road markers are present and suitably detectable to an appropriate level of accuracy and therefore safety, said route tracking mean can operate at least substantially entirely via detection of said road markers.

More preferably, said road markers of said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention comprise one or more of the following: dashed lines representing demarcation of lanes for vehicles travelling in the same or opposite directions; and solid lines demarcating the legal edges of said road. Preferably, said route tracking means is arranged for detection of either or both said dashed or solid lines. More preferably, said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine which road markers, or which combination thereof, to use depending, for example, on their detectability and corresponding accuracy of the detected road markers and corresponding determined safety of the resultant route tracking. It could be, for example, that detecting a single dashed line, or a combination of substantially parallel dashed lines is more accurate for a particular road or highway than detection of corresponding proximally positioned solid lines. This will also be the case, for example, when the solid lines are not present or, for various reasons, are more difficult to detect. It could also be that both the dashed and solid lines are difficult to detect at different times. In those situations, said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently decide to track said route using a combination of data from both types of said road markers.

In another preferred form of said one, other, yet other and still other aspects of the present invention said tracking means further comprises road surface detection means arranged to detect a surface of said road. The road surface detection means is preferably used in combination with said road marker detection means. However, it could be used independently. For example, said road surface detection means could be suitable for unsealed or sealed roads that do not comprise said road markers. In those situations, said road surface detection means can be used to detect said extremities of said width of said road and also therefore a centre of said road. Until said GPS navigation and road mapping is suitably accurate this means of detecting said extremities of said width of said road is likely to be more accurate and suitable to safely position said self-drive vehicle on an appropriate side of said road.

The road surface detection means could, for example, comprise any suitable detection means. It could, for example, comprise radar or optic sensors or any other sensors as described in relation to said road marker detection means.

Another benefit of said road surface detection means is that it can be helpful in determining how far from a centre of said road said self-drive vehicle can be safely positioned without at least two of its wheels either running off a sealed road surface or moving too close to an edge of an unsealed road surface. This is important to safely increase the spacing between said self-drive vehicle and a centre of said road when it is passing oncoming vehicles to increase the corresponding margin for error. It is also important in the event of an incident that requires said self-drive vehicle to move toward the edge of said road, whether or not it is sealed or unsealed. Such an event could for example comprise an oncoming vehicle moving toward or partially across a centre of said road. However, said self-drive vehicle is preferably also arranged to alert the driver in such a situation to take control of said self-drive vehicle. The self-drive vehicle is preferably also arranged to rapidly but safely slow in such a situation, unless its driver overrides this safety feature.

In another preferred form of said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention said route tracking means is arranged to indicate when said vehicle can be used in self-drive mode. For this purpose, said route tracking means is arranged to intelligently determine when accuracy of said route tracking is sufficient to enable safe operation of said vehicle in said self-drive mode. Similarly, said route tracking means is preferably arranged to alert said driver when self-drive mode is no longer available and the driver is required to take control of said vehicle. The transition from said self-drive mode preferably comprises appropriate safety measures. For example, said tracking means is preferably further arranged to detect whether said driver is appropriately controlling said vehicle and if not to rapidly but safely slow said vehicle to a stop.

More preferably said self-drive vehicle of said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention further comprises other detection means for detecting one or more of

a. one or more other vehicles, or persons, proximal to, or approaching, said vehicle; b. said road, or barriers on said road, ahead of said vehicle in accordance with said predetermined route; and

c. traffic signals.

More preferably, said detection means is arranged to detect another vehicle, or person not housed within said vehicle, if their position relative to said self-drive vehicle is potentially dangerous to said self-drive vehicle or said other person. In a further preferred embodiment said detection means is arranged to warn of anything undesirable to provide an opportunity for a driver of said self-drive vehicle to override said route tracking means.

It is noted that traffic signal detection is known technology which uses for example radar or laser technology or a combination thereof in combination with GPS technology that notifies of approaching traffic signals. However, in an alternative preferred embodiment traffic signals, particularly although not exclusively in the form of traffic lights, are alternatively or additionally detected, for example, via a signal emitted therefrom. For example, said traffic signal detection means could comprise electromagnetic detection means which is arranged to detect an electromagnetic signal emitted from an

electromagnetic emitting means of said traffic lights wherein said electromagnetic signal corresponds to the status of the lights e.g. RED, AMBER or GREEN.

In one preferred form of said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention said predetermined route comprises following said road. Similarly, it may comprise following one or more lanes of a road. Said one or more lanes may comprise a lane of a divided or undivided road or highway. In another preferred form of said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention said predetermined route comprises a route entered into said vehicle's satellite navigation system. Preferably said predetermined route can be changed, either locally - for example by the driver or passenger - or remotely, at any stage along said predetermined route. Remote access preferably must be authorised from the vehicle's control system and more preferably for a period of time hence.

Preferably, said self-drive vehicle propelling means comprises wheels and a corresponding drive mechanism and a motor for driving said vehicle along said road. However, said self- drive vehicle propelling means could alternatively, for example, comprise thrusters or tracks. More preferably, said self-drive vehicle also comprises steering means for steering said vehicle along said predetermined route. In a further preferred embodiment said self- drive vehicle propelling means comprises braking means. In a still further preferred embodiment said propelling means comprises velocity and acceleration controlling means for respective control of the velocity and acceleration of said self-drive vehicle.

In a still yet other aspect of the present invention there is provided a method for tracking a self-drive land vehicle corresponding to said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention.

In a still further aspect of the present invention there is provided a terminal computer for tracking a self-drive land vehicle corresponding to said one, other, still other and yet other aspects of the present invention.

According to the system, method and terminal computer of said respective still other, yet other, still yet other and still further aspects of the present invention traffic can be more readily remotely managed to optimise traffic flow. In accordance with these aspects of the present invention a vehicle's driver can preferably override any such remote management. For example, such overriding would automatically occur at any time a driver takes control of the vehicle and doesn't drive it in self-drive mode. However, according to the remote management capability of the present invention operation of a vehicle in self-drive mode enables it to be remotely driven in a manner which optimises traffic flow. This

optimisation can, for example, relate to a city or region of it, or a country or regions of a country. By optimising traffic flow in this manner drivers can focus their attention to other matters, for example, personal or work related knowing that by allowing the vehicle to be remotely controlled they are contributing to traffic flow optimisation. Traffic flow optimisation could also, for example, be directed by relevant authorities with the exception of emergency or other unusual or high priority events of a driver of a vehicle in which case the driver is, for example, legally authorised to either take control of the vehicle so that it isn't driven in self-drive mode or instruct, via a vehicle's control system, that traffic flow optimisation isn't permitted.

All prior art disclosures referenced directly or indirectly in the present specification, and any related documents, acts, materials, devices, articles, methods or the like, is solely for the purpose of providing context for the present invention. It is not to be taken as an admission that any or all of what is disclosed in relation to these disclosures forms part of the prior art base or was common general knowledge in the field relevant to the present invention as it existed in Australia or elsewhere before the priority date of each claim of invention of the present application. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred embodiment of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawing in which:

Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of one example of a self-drive land vehicle of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to figure l, one example of a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a self-drive land vehicle in the form of a car ιο. Car 10 comprises radar detection means of the present invention in the form of radar 20 for sensing vehicles in the form of vehicles 30 and 40 or persons in the form of persons 50 and 60 which are either dangerously close to the car 10 or approaching the car 10 dangerously. The car 10 also comprises road surface detecting means of the present invention which in this particular example comprises combined LIDAR and radar 70 detection functionality for detecting a surface of a road of the present invention in the form of road surface 80. The LIDAR and radar 70 is also designed to detect anything, for example fallen rock, that may be obstructing the road 80. The car 10 also has radio wave detection of the present invention in the form of traffic light radio wave detectors 90. The detectors 90 are designed to detect signals emitted from traffic lights, for example traffic lights 100, that indicate whether the lights are signaling traffic to go or stop or prepare to stop. The car 10 further includes optical traffic signal detection means of the present invention in the form of cameras 105 for detecting, in combination with GPS navigation of the present invention, traffic signs, for example, STOP and GIVE WAY signs.

A route tracking means of the car 10 in the form of a travel tracking system no enables the car 10 to travel along a predetermined route of the road 80 in the form of route 120. The travel tracking system no compares road data of the present invention relating to the route 120 which in this particular example comprises road survey data 130 with the position of the car 10 at any given point in time. This data 130 can be uploaded to the travel tracking system as a block or in real time. The data 130 maps extremities of the road and also its lanes. It also maps other features of the route 120, for example, an intersection and all other features of the route 120. It therefore comprises data similar to that of onboard navigation systems that are readily available and used. However, the data of the travel tracking system 110 is more comprehensive because it doesn't just confirm whether a vehicle is traveling on a particular road. If the survey data 130 is accurate enough the travel tracking system 110 directs travel of the car 10 and also travel along a particular path within the road 80, for example within a regular or overtaking lane.

The car 10 also has vehicle propulsion means in the form of a motor 140 and drive shaft 150, and wheels 160 which are respective examples of the drive mechanism and wheels of the present invention. Steering means of the present invention in the form of a steering wheel 170 and corresponding linkages (not shown) to front wheels 180 are also part of the car 10.

Travel of the car 10 along the route 120 is enabled as follows. The travel tracking system 110 continuously updates the position of the car 10. It also continuously compares the position of the car 10 according to GPS navigation 135 with the road surveying data 130. Signals are sent from the travel tracking system 110 to the motor 140, drive shaft 150 and steering wheel 170 to drive the car 10 along the route 120. The travel tracking system 110 also comprises data relating to a desired, or recommended, velocity of travel and also acceleration.

The travel tracking system 110 also receives data from the radar 20 and LIDAR and radar 70, radio wave detectors 90 and cameras 105, and makes decisions regarding travel of the car 10 based on this data. For example, the travel tracking system may receive data from the LIDAR and radar 70 indicating that the road 80 is obstructed ahead. The travel tracking system 110 immediately and rapidly slows the car 10 and also sounds an alert which indicates to the driver to become alert and take immediate control of the car 10. If the driver does not immediately take control of the car 10 it continues to slow to a stop. The car 10 also sounds similar alerts, for example, if signals from the radio wave detectors 20 and 70 are unclear. In those situations, the travel tracking system 110 will also immediately and rapidly slow the car 10.

In addition to the road surveying data 130 the travel tracking system 110 comprises said road marker detection means of the present invention. In the particular example of travel track system 110 said road marker detection means comprises a LIDAR and image recognition lane marker detectors 200. These detectors 200 are designed, in accordance with one example of said reading of data of the present invention, to detect road markers of the present invention which in this particular example comprise lane markings 210. The lane markings 210, in accordance with typical road demarcation practices, demarcate extremities of the road 80 and also its lanes. The lane markings 210 consist of paint having a material designed for detection by the LIDAR and image recognition lane marker detectors 200. However, the markings could alternatively comprise any other material and the travel tracking system 110 corresponding means of detection for detecting the position of the lanes ahead of the car 10.

The LIDAR and image recognition lane marker detectors 200 can readily be designed to accurately identify the location of the lane markings 210 a set distance in front of the car 10. This set distance can also be changed according to the speed that the car 10 is travelling at. This is similar to current technology, for example lights which increase in brightness as a vehicle's speed increases. These detectors can cost effectively and reliably be produced because they are designed to identify a single image, i.e. a lane marking. This is therefore different to optical sensors of, for example, the Google Inc. self-drive car which are required to scan and interpret any and all visually detectable images in front of or surrounding the corresponding vehicle.

The travel tracking system 110 also includes LIDAR and image recognition road surface detectors 220 which are one example of road surface detector means of the present invention. The LIDAR and image recognition road surface detectors 220 detect the road surface 80. From the GPS navigation system 135 the travel tracking system 110 determines the available lanes of the road. For example, the travel tracking system 110 knows whether the road surface 80 stretching ahead of the car 10 is for vehicles travelling in a common direction or whether some lanes of the road surface 80 are designated for vehicles travelling in the opposite direction. For each longitudinal section of the road surface 80 the travel tracking system 110 then determines the available width of road. The travel tracking system 110 also compares data provided via the LIDAR and image recognition road surface detectors 220 with that of the LIDAR and image recognition lane marker detectors 200 and also that of the road survey data 130. Accuracy is also assigned to each of these data sets to enable the application of corresponding weightings.

The car 10 could also comprise features of the Google Inc. self-drive car, either those already developed or being developed. The Google Inc. car could correspondingly comprise features of the car 10, either as the primary or secondary basis for determining velocity and acceleration. If used as a secondary basis features of the car 10 or those of the Google Inc. car could provide a fail-safe system.

It will be appreciated that the invention in at least one of its preferred forms has at least the following possible advantages:

1. it utilises technology similar to that already in use. For example, the route tracking means can be developed from currently available on-board navigation systems, road survey data or satellite imaging and radar and optic sensing technology that is either well established or relatively well established and also by the relevant industry. Optic detection technology of the present invention such as said road surface detection means is also relatively routine, repeatable and therefore reliable and safe. This technology is likely to be different, for example, to optic sensing or detection technology of the Google Inc. car. Optic sensing technology of that car is detecting thousands, millions or more visual images every second and each of those images could be vastly different. To the contrary, the optic detection, and other detection, technology of the present invention is designed to detect a very specific feature, for example the surface of a road or the line marking of such a road;

2. at least for reasons explained at 1. above, the technology referred to at item 1 is likely to be relatively easily and cost effectively developed and implemented, and within a relatively short timeframe;

3. robotic vision may not be necessary for self-drive land vehicles, at least not for most of those vehicles. Most land vehicles are travelling a road, one after the other, and those vehicles are aware of each other (whether self-drive or not) and if necessary are usually able to safely stop. Therefore, in a worst-case scenario that a self-drive vehicle is unable to interpret data that it is receiving from said sensing means, or incorrectly interprets it as a dangerous situation, the self-drive vehicle can simply simultaneously begin to slow and alert the driver. If the driver does not respond and take control the self-drive vehicle can rapidly but safely stop and most likely just cause traffic disruption. The self- drive vehicle of the present invention is therefore likely to be no worse than other vehicles either in terms of traffic disruption or safety. However, it is also likely to be an improvement over other vehicles because unlike some drivers, for example slow drivers, it is not likely to drive in a manner disruptive to traffic. It is also likely to reduce driver fatigue incidents, and accidents caused by human error;

4. it provides enormous benefits to a vast majority of the population and possibly for a fraction of the cost of the Google Inc. car which also provides advantages to persons with very poor vision or to persons who wish to essentially drive entirely in a self-drive mode;

5. while the car 10 can be used essentially entirely as a self-drive vehicle one of its main advantages may be to enable a driver to relax and not focus on driving the car 10 for part of a journey or even most of the journey. It is expected that this will provide very large productivity savings, in terms of relaxation while travelling but also because the driver is able to undertake work while driving a car that would otherwise not be possible;

6. Driverless functionality is for the vast majority of the population most likely to be beneficial for long journeys. For short journeys that do not involve highway driving the majority of drivers may not be as interested in driverless functionality. Furthermore, a lot of drivers actually enjoy this type of driving. It is the long journeys that become boring and for which humans, due to them not being robotic in nature, typically aren't suitable. The present invention is therefore adapted for use of driverless functionality for purposes that probably appeal to the majority of drivers, and at a small fraction of the cost and complexity of self-drive vehicles like the Google Inc. car that are essentially primarily robotic vision controlled; and

7. Features of the present invention, for example said road markers and said electromagnetic emitting means, can be applied as required in relation to said roads rather than having to significantly redesign each vehicle driving on said roads to comprise self-drive capability.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations or

modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. For example, the car 10 may not comprise cameras 105 and instead may require driver input at an intersection not controlled by traffic lights, and possibly also one controlled by traffic lights if those lights do not emit a detectable signal. In another alternative example, the car 10 may be equipped to take evasive action to attempt to avoid contact with another car or person. Also, the rate of development of technology used in road surveying, satellite imaging and GPS navigation could make the use of said road markers redundant. This is because the cost of highly accurate forms of these forms of technology is likely to vastly reduce over a relatively short period of time. If these technological advances occur, as anticipated, then comparison of a vehicle's live GPS position with mapping that determines extremities of a width of a road and also lanes of the road is likely to determine to a high degree of accuracy substantially the exact position of the vehicle on the road. In a yet other alternative example said road and lane markers comprise material other than paint that is more suitable for detection by said road marker means of the present invention. However, in a still other alternative example said road and lane markers comprise traditional road and lane markings painted on a surface of a sealed road. In a yet still other alternative example said road and lane markers comprise strips of material suitably fixed to a surface of a sealed or unsealed road. The strips are preferably further arranged or optimised for detection by said road marker detection means. In a yet further alternative example the present invention comprises various forms of redundancy to enhance safety. For example, as described in the detailed description of the preferred embodiment in relation to one or other forms of detection means of the present invention one or more other features of the present invention can comprise more than one form of technology. By utilising corresponding forms of technology a vehicle's, and it occupant's, safety can be optimised by determining which form of technology is more suitable and hence accurate for the present driving conditions. Driving conditions are continually changing and as such the suitability of technology can constantly be monitored and a vehicle's use of it can accordingly be adjusted, locally from within the vehicle or remotely. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.