But that characterization isn't quite right. In fact the software patent is on the method allowing the control to pass back and forth from machine control to human control. More precisely, "the use of a predefined landing strip" or "programming a predefined route into a vehicle, or having a computer control an autonomous vehicle that follows a route based on information stored in the computer".
Matt notes that the world gains from this in terms of safety and efficiency. However he questions the patent grant on the grounds that another monopoly has been established by stealth. Fortunately, the patent will be worthless once the world switches to full time computer control of the car. But in the meantime, we will all pay in higher prices.