Okay, Google just patented automated delivery vehicles. Dumb. Car with a lock on it. Not hard, super obvious. US009256852
And to paraphrase Mr. Bumble, “If the law supposes [that this kind of invention is patentable before we even have widespread use of driverless cars], then the law [(and Google)] is a ass—a idiot.”
Instead of a big car with locks on it, you have a small cargo only vehicle, privately owned or operated as a fleet, that services a single pick up and delivery trip at a time.
The vehicle integrates with a warehouse system, and is able to stream video and authentication information from the operator to the warehouse, and from the warehouse to the delivery destination.
Basically, you send your shopping list via a website to the local bulk-mart and it will assemble a pallet with your items. Then you send your cargocar over and it will pick up your pallet and deliver it to your home. Everything in between is required to ensure that no one gets ripped off. You need security between the car and bulk-mart; between the car and random passers-by (pirates!); between bulk-mart and the destination.
So, let’s see. Private and on-demand cargo-cars. Private and on-demand passenger-cars with similar security controls to transport minors. Warehouse systems to deliver pallets of goods to cargo-cars. Home automation systems that will accept loaded pallets and store goods in the appropriate areas (refrigeration, dry goods, supplies, pantry items, etc).
And we can all go on. Just think about a world of driverless vehicles, and you come up with all sorts of blindingly obvious “inventions” that should never be patented.
Ooh, here’s another one. A parking lot that is a street! I’m going to patent that. “A location that is co-incident with a public road for storing mobile, self-driving vehicles that are not currently serving a passenger or delivering goods, but are instead waiting for passengers or goods. This patent covers the system and method for said vehicles to use the pre-defined locations that are co-located with public streets in such a way that they can be referred to as being ‘parked’ when in fact they are still moving and are not at all parked.”
Blah blah. Autonomous vehicles will clog city streets instead of parking, and I will own the patent, and you can’t do that unless you pay me a license fee! Mwahahaha!