Google Granted Patent For Car Service That Takes You To An Advertised Location
To a certain extent, there’s nothing new about that at all, especially in areas like Las Vegas, but there’s a couple of twists in this case. One is that Google is bringing the paradigm of online “conversions” via ads into the real world with such a service.
“The present invention relates generally to arranging for free or discounted transportation to an advertiser's business location,” reads the patent. The system will take into account a customer’s location, forms of available transportation, prices competing advertisers are willing to pay for the same customer’s transportation, and more.
This data will be handled by Google, of course, including customer profiles (presumably generated by search data and the like), and user devices such as smartphone and computers will be involved in identifying opportunities and scheduling transportation. Google will do all the appropriate number crunching with its mighty algorithms to determine how, if, and when to proceed.
But there’s another twist that will no doubt make some folks really, really uncomfortable. The patent mentions in passing that self-driving cars may be one of the means of transportation for the service.
Autonomous cars are, of course, a pet project of Google right now. Not that many others are actively testing and developing self-driving cars; Tesla is one notable exception. So at some point in the future, Google can feed you to an advertiser and even send a robot car to drive you to the store.