theodp writes "On April Fools' Day, Google joked it was partnering with NASCAR on self-driving cars. Google Racing, the search giant joshed, had its roots in Project Caddy, which demonstrated the viability of self-driving golf carts. And in the future, Google added tongue-in-cheek, your kids will travel unattended in driverless-car car pools. Funny stuff, huh? Only thing is, GeekWire reports the USPTO disclosed Thursday that Google actually has a patent pending for driverless golf carts, as well as cars that can autonomously pick up kids from school and be switched into 'sport mode,' where 'the vehicle may navigate through turns at the maximum speed that is safe.' In addition to cars, trucks and golf carts, Google's patent application calls dibs on autonomous busses, boats, airplanes, helicopters, lawnmowers, recreational vehicles, amusement park vehicles, trams, trains, and trolleys. Google also describes how its invention will enable autonomous police cars to conduct high speed chases and give law enforcement vehicles 'a limited amount of control over nearby vehicles.' So, is the patent application legit, or did Google team up with the USPTO on a belated April Fools' goof?"
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