theodp writes "On Tuesday, Google was awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,078,349 for methods and devices for Transitioning a Mixed-mode Autonomous Vehicle from a Human Driven Mode to an Autonomously Driven Mode. From the fast-tracked patent application, which was filed last May and kept under wraps at Google's request: 'The autonomous vehicle may be used as a virtual tour guide of Millennium Park in Chicago. In the example embodiment, the vehicle may have an instruction to drive to the Cloud Gate (Silver Bean) sculpture at Millennium Park. When the vehicle arrives, the autonomous instruction may tell it to wait in the location for a predetermined amount of time, for example 5 minutes. The instruction may then direct the vehicle to drive to the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park and again wait for 5 minutes. Next, the instruction may tell the vehicle to drive to the Ice Rink at Millennium Park and wait for another predetermined amount of time. Finally, the vehicle instruction may tell the vehicle to return to its starting position.'"