Google awarded autonomous vehicle patent for supply chain facility robots

In a just-awarded patent, Google outlined a strategy to ensure that autonomous and remote-controlled robots in a distribution center/warehouse facilities aren’t overloaded as they move materials and product.

The patent outlines a series of robots that could be used in a distribution facility or warehouse, and a system for controlling how quickly they move and accelerate to ensure that they can safely load and unload. According to the patent: “Example systems may involve automated loading and/or unloading of boxes and/or other objects, such as into storage containers or to and from delivery vehicles.”

The patent’s inventor is listed as a software engineer at Google, Kevin W. Watts, who has previously worked on robots and automated driving systems at Bosch and Willow Garage.

Google is testing Project Wing, a program for delivering small packages to customers with autonomous drones with a goal of operating by 2017. Other Google patents suggest that it’s considering delivering packages using autonomous trucks, presumably using the logistics developed for Project Wing, and the self-driving technology also in the works.

View the patent.