Apple wins patent for crowd-sourced traffic navigation

The envisioned system would help you plan your route by analyzing stop lights, stop signs, and obstacles that can slow your trip.

apple-crowdsourced-patented-system.jpg
Apple/USPTO

Imagine a navigation system that can guide you based on the number of stop lights, stop signs, and obstacles along the way. A new Apple patent describes just that.

Granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, an Apple patent called "Routing based on detected stops" takes the concept of crowd-sourced navigation a few steps further than usual.

Current products such as Waze combine traffic data collected from multiple drivers to suggest the quickest way for you to reach your destination. Crowd-sourcing the information provides more accurate and real-time information than can be achieved through standard navigation apps, such as Google Maps and Apple's Maps app. But even today's crowd-sourced systems can only go so far in taking into account every possible interruption or slowdown along your route. A smarter system that could truly find the best route would be a boon to every driver.

In Apple's patent, such a smart navigation system would use the GPS in your mobile device to collect any detected stops of your car and determine how long each stop lasts. The information could even be analyzed to distinguish between stop lights and stop signs. The data itself would be sent to a remote server and then shared with the vehicles tapped into the system via a regular navigation app, such as Google Maps or Apple Maps.

As a driver, you could then use that information to determine the quickest route to your destination. You could also more accurately estimate the duration of your trip based on the data and even determine the best time to leave to reach your destination without being late.

Over time, the server could also collect and collate the data to predict specific traffic patterns based on the location of stop lights, time of day, and other factors.

As always, even an approved patent doesn't mean this technology will make its way into the real world. But a driver can always hope.

(Via AppleInsider)

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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