or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple looking to improve GPS route-planning estimates
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple looking to improve GPS route-planning estimates

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
A new patent application from Apple suggests the company could be working on proprietary global positioning system software that would calculate road trip times and recommend routes, based on real-time data collected from numerous users, and uploaded to a centralized server.

In the recently revealed U.S. patent filing, Apple describes a system for obtaining drivers' personal travel data and using it to estimate driving times. Such a system could take into account speed, time of day, location, driving patterns, season, route type and features, traffic information, road conditions and location data.

Originally filed for in 2008, the patent could save drive times and other data on the local system, and also upload it to a centralized database where the data would be shared with others.

"These features provide customized travel time estimates that take into account a user's driving habits, the characteristics of the vehicle being navigated, road conditions, seasonal conditions, traffic congestion and other factors," the patent application reads, "which cannot be accounted for by conventional statistical calculations based on data samples obtained from a test vehicle or device traveling the route."

The described system would take into consideration a plethora of factors, like stoplights and railroad crossings, and store the data on a server, time-stamped and indexed for easy access.

"The average speeds and/or average travel times for a particular route segment can be collected over a period of time," the document reads, "to provide a historical view of how the average speeds and/or travel times change for different seasons, days of the week, times of day, etc."



Since the iPhone 3G added GPS capabilities, the iPhone platform has become a viable option for those looking for map assistance. Some developers, such as AT&T and Navigon, have developed their own software to take advantage of the phone's hardware.

In June, AT&T released its GPS software solution. Developed by TeleNav and branded as AT&T Navigator, the free application requires a $9.95 monthly service subscription.

Also in June, Navigon released its own MobileNavigator for European residents. The software fetches £54.99 and includes built-in 2D and 3D maps of Europe, allowing it to function without a wireless connection.

Both are bound to face off against an upcoming offering from GPS device maker TomTom, the software for which is being developed with the help of Apple engineers. It will be sold alongside a TomTom car kit accessory, which enhances the iPhone's GPS signal through its dock connector thanks to third-party accessory support built into the iPhone SDK 3.0.

It is unclear whether a potential Apple GPS system would work in tandem with or compete against any of those systems.
post #2 of 31
Waze.co.il has already been doing this for a while, I wonder how they can apply for a patent when there's prior art?

The way this works in Waze is that while the app is running, location data is sent to a central server, which calculates speed. It can even tell when a specific route is congested, just by the sheer number of vehicles driving very slowly. It takes this into account while it calculates an alternative route. I've been enjoying this for almost a year now! :-)
post #3 of 31
Not to mention Tomtom's Live Traffic and Dash Navigation's Driver Network (now owned by RIM).
post #4 of 31
I wish in-car GPS had not only a "fastest" and "shortest" button but also a "safest". After a week in a major metro area using one, it often produced a route that no local would choose to take given an alternate, literally going through the worst crime-ridden parts of a city. I know what parts of familiar cities to avoid - we all do. Shouldn't the GPS know the same? This is a lawsuit (maybe not a very good one) waiting to happen - when someone gets car-jacked on a route determined by Garmin or TomTom or Apple.
post #5 of 31
Things that appear to be similar can be very different in implementation. It's not the outward functions that always matter, but how they are done.You know the expression "There are ten ways to skin a cat."?

Well, they are all patentable.
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

I wish in-car GPS had not only a "fastest" and "shortest" button but also a "safest". After a week in a major metro area using one, it often produced a route that no local would choose to take given an alternate, literally going through the worst crime-ridden parts of a city. I know what parts of familiar cities to avoid - we all do. Shouldn't the GPS know the same? This is a lawsuit (maybe not a very good one) waiting to happen - when someone gets car-jacked on a route determined by Garmin or TomTom or Apple.

I would doubt that's easily done. There would have to be millions of bits of information for that.

And then communities would sue over being called dangerous. Sometimes this is in the eye of the beholder. Who decides what is dangerous? What standards are applied? Who makes up those standards? How were those people selected? How often do they update the data and conclusions? What about the many errors that will be made? Who is liable for it? Who pays for all of that?
post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

I wish in-car GPS had not only a "fastest" and "shortest" button but also a "safest". After a week in a major metro area using one, it often produced a route that no local would choose to take given an alternate, literally going through the worst crime-ridden parts of a city. I know what parts of familiar cities to avoid - we all do. Shouldn't the GPS know the same? This is a lawsuit (maybe not a very good one) waiting to happen - when someone gets car-jacked on a route determined by Garmin or TomTom or Apple.

And then Apple and any other company that tried that would immediately get sued for being racist for avoiding low-income areas that have large minority populations where crime is unfortunately higher than in the WASPy areas. Besides, if the area doesn't feel safe, then don't go that way, nearly all GPS devices now recalculate your route if you deviate from the given course.

As for the patent... Apple better seriously secure all that data, because that's a big brother law suit just waiting to happen. Even if you have to opt-in to submitting such data, having it possibly tied to a very unique set of identifiers is very disconcerting. If they do it right though, I hope they charge a decent fee so any developer can access that data. Just as long as it isn't used to improve non-iPhone navigation apps (unless Apple decides to charge a hefty license for such uses).
post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

This is a lawsuit (maybe not a very good one) waiting to happen - when someone gets car-jacked on a route determined by Garmin or TomTom or Apple.

And just think of the lawsuit that would happen if they did come out with this and some one got carjacked/shot while driving the "safest" route.
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I would doubt that's easily done. There would have to be millions of bits of information for that.

And then communities would sue over being called dangerous. Sometimes this is in the eye of the beholder. Who decides what is dangerous? What standards are applied? Who makes up those standards? How were those people selected? How often do they update the data and conclusions? What about the many errors that will be made? Who is liable for it? Who pays for all of that?


Actually this is done by some Garmins. All you have to do is create and store a route to some known safe place along the way, and it will route around trouble. Can also be used for avoiding construction.

I wish they would just allow you to touch a part of the route and have a VETO button to block that segment.
post #10 of 31
The industry even has a term for this. It's called "Floating Car Data" (Google it).

The new TomTom products include "IQ routes" which does exactly what's claimed.

Of course, nothing stops anyone from applying for a patent on something that already exists. What's supposed to stop it being granted is the patent examiner. In the US, the examiner does nothing and leaves it to the courts to slug it out. In the district of East Texas, usually.
post #11 of 31
Thanks Hailstorm, I had already forgotten the Dash name... But this is exactly what their platform aspired to be. Apple actually has the sufficient installed base to make it work though. (And so does RIM, for that matter, now that it owns Dash)
post #12 of 31
I'd be interested in reading the actual filing to see if anything differentiates it from existing technology. Anyone have the patent number? I tried doing a search but couldn't find it.

Thanks.
post #13 of 31
What we need is to merge turn-by-turn GPS with such iPhone apps as Trapster. That would be truly useful - real-time speed trap and photo-enforced-stoplight alerts while you drive.
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by icebike View Post

Actually this is done by some Garmins. All you have to do is create and store a route to some known safe place along the way, and it will route around trouble. Can also be used for avoiding construction.

I wish they would just allow you to touch a part of the route and have a VETO button to block that segment.

That's different. The various authorities publish that info for drivers, just the way the NYC Transit Authority publishes advisories about train and bus service.

You're actually saying that Garmin determines which neighborhoods are safe and which are dangerous, meaning crime? I haven't heard of that one. If so, that feature is a well kept secret.
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by eric42 View Post

I'd be interested in reading the actual filing to see if anything differentiates it from existing technology. Anyone have the patent number? I tried doing a search but couldn't find it.

Thanks.

Think I found it here :

http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...RS=20090005964
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctmike78 View Post

Think I found it here :

http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...RS=20090005964

I looked at it briefly. It's pretty specific.

But we need to have all the patents from all other companies who produce products that claim to do anything like this, in whole, or in part.

I'm not asking you to get all that. It would take a patent attorney days or more.
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

I wish in-car GPS had not only a "fastest" and "shortest" button but also a "safest". After a week in a major metro area using one, it often produced a route that no local would choose to take given an alternate, literally going through the worst crime-ridden parts of a city. I know what parts of familiar cities to avoid - we all do. Shouldn't the GPS know the same? This is a lawsuit (maybe not a very good one) waiting to happen - when someone gets car-jacked on a route determined by Garmin or TomTom or Apple.

That would be the most frivolous lawsuit and waste of court time ever.

Look, I am gearing up for a MS in geography but what ever happened to knowing where the hell you were going, I mean at last having an idea? If you're in a city, you figure out where not to go. I mean come on. You don't just cruise around in cities. You find out what's up first. Unless, of course, you want to be carjacked. I guess you'll think about that detour through Newark or Dorchester or whatever next time! Plus like someone said, define" safe". It's different for everyone.
"Overpopulation and climate change are serious shit." Gilsch
"I was really curious how they had managed such fine granularity of alienation." addabox
Reply
"Overpopulation and climate change are serious shit." Gilsch
"I was really curious how they had managed such fine granularity of alienation." addabox
Reply
post #18 of 31
Yawnnnnn...........
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofabutt View Post

Yawnnnnn...........

Yawn all you like. I'd love the ability for people to be able to "tag" where cops are sitting on the interstate using GPS and/or mile markers. That way fellow iPhone users... get a push notification if and when they're approaching an officer.

Yeah... where's the app for that? Developer community??
post #20 of 31
Sounds helpful, may be everywhere, definitely not in LA. The traffic here is so unpredictable, that not even a super-computer can calculate and predict time of travel.

But then again, if Apple makes it, we will buy it. Yes, we always buy Apple,even when we don't need it. Who cares about need?
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

Sounds helpful, may be everywhere, definitely not in LA. The traffic here is so unpredictable, that not even a super-computer can calculate and predict time of travel.

But then again, if Apple makes it, we will buy it. Yes, we always buy Apple,even when we don't need it. Who cares about need?

My wife.
post #22 of 31
Is it only me that finds this slightly sinister? I actually feel conflicted by it, as in theory it could make life so much better for a lot of people, but I'm not sure I like the idea of my position being so accurately stored "somewhere". I'm normally not that bothered about what people record about me, since I'm never doing anything wrong (well normally never!) but this oversteps a mark for me.

I know that just by having a cell phone it is possible to track with reasonable accuracy where I am at any given time, but something about this seems far too "Big Brother" for my liking.

I like the idea about calculating a safest route, but also agree that it is not really practical. One persons dangerous is another persons safe.
post #23 of 31
What about some sort of timer that trips if you stop too long on a planned route at a location that does not match a gas station or restaurant or shopping center. Then you get a txt message asking if you are okay. Or like the airlines travel updates that sends a message to your customer or whomever you designate that you are running late.

As for concerns over privacy. It sounds to me that they would only need anonymous data collected for if to be usefull. In fact or sounds like it would only be truly usefull if there is a plethora of data for a multitude of users which could make trying to use it to find out anything about any one person rather difficult. Then again with computers these days it should not be that difficult to mine the data and say that sone particular person of at least their cell phone was at s certain place on a certain day at a certain time.

That sort of data could potentially be used in court as evidence but then you have to also prove that there is no way someone could have taken your phone and then returned it or that you did nit deliberatly leave it somewhere other than where you really were.
post #24 of 31
When the heck is tom tom gonna ACTUALLY RELEASE their iphone products. geez they're slower than AT&T and that's really saying something.
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by HyteProsector View Post

Yawn all you like. I'd love the ability for people to be able to "tag" where cops are sitting on the interstate using GPS and/or mile markers. That way fellow iPhone users... get a push notification if and when they're approaching an officer.

Yeah... where's the app for that? Developer community??

Trapster?

Edit- doesn't have push though.
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

That would be the most frivolous lawsuit and waste of court time ever.

Look, I am gearing up for a MS in geography but what ever happened to knowing where the hell you were going, I mean at last having an idea? If you're in a city, you figure out where not to go. I mean come on. You don't just cruise around in cities. You find out what's up first. Unless, of course, you want to be carjacked. I guess you'll think about that detour through Newark or Dorchester or whatever next time! Plus like someone said, define" safe". It's different for everyone.

But what happens when you don't know the city? Like St. Luis, I always get in the wrong lane when crossing the river going west. The last time I had to use my Garmin to get back to the right highway. I do not know the city or the neighborhoods I was passing through, Was "safe" or not? I do not know? And like you said, "safe" would be different for different people.
What goes online stays online. What is online will become public.
Reply
What goes online stays online. What is online will become public.
Reply
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadicalxEdward View Post

When the heck is tom tom gonna ACTUALLY RELEASE their iphone products. geez they're slower than AT&T and that's really saying something.

No one said that working with Apple on a product would help to speed up its release.
post #28 of 31
This encompasses a combined response to several above comments.

I wasn't cruising around in cities - I was following the GPS directions in a new city.

I know where in Boston and DOT to be and not be. From experience, from having lived in the greater Boston area. No one is suing me for knowing not to head down the wrong boulevard. And as a geographer, you would know that there's plenty of solid GIS data freely available on crime rates that could be used for such a feature. And nobody's getting sued for publishing that data.

What I recently didn't know is where I was headed in a new city in Florida driving a GPS-equipped loaner. And by the time you perceive danger it's likely already closer than you wish. I stopped to ask for directions on another recent non-GPS'd trip through another new-to-me metro area and a local overheard me asking for directions and kindly told me that I was somewhere I need not be and how to get where I was going and which roads to NOT head down - with a wink. Should he be sued?

Google Maps sends people to my office through a section of nearby city that no casual traveler routinely goes and I often hear about it when they arrive that way.

As a geographer, what resource would you suggest to figure out the Dorchesters of the world for any city I happen to need to drive through? AAA? Michelin? Seriously.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

That would be the most frivolous lawsuit and waste of court time ever.

Look, I am gearing up for a MS in geography but what ever happened to knowing where the hell you were going, I mean at last having an idea? If you're in a city, you figure out where not to go. I mean come on. You don't just cruise around in cities. You find out what's up first. Unless, of course, you want to be carjacked. I guess you'll think about that detour through Newark or Dorchester or whatever next time! Plus like someone said, define" safe". It's different for everyone.
post #29 of 31
Are these folks (Fort Worth PD) getting sued for producing maps / GIS from crime data?

http://img125.imageshack.us/img125/1...rimemapxp4.jpg

or these (SFPD data)?

http://www.sfgov.org/site/police_index.asp?id=20066

No one's singling the neighborhoods out by income or color as you mentioned, but for crime rates. Anyone who knows the high crime areas is already avoiding them. City tour guides do this as a matter of course - only directing you to and through safer areas of a city for sightseeing - and nobody sues them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by floccus View Post

And then Apple and any other company that tried that would immediately get sued for being racist for avoiding low-income areas that have large minority populations where crime is unfortunately higher than in the WASPy areas. Besides, if the area doesn't feel safe, then don't go that way, nearly all GPS devices now recalculate your route if you deviate from the given course.
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

And just think of the lawsuit that would happen if they did come out with this and some one got carjacked/shot while driving the "safest" route.

Notice I never used "safe" as some have referenced it - "safer" or "safest known" would be the target - since there is no such thing as "safe". But there's always a more dangerous place than where you would choose to go.

I think lawsuits are possible in either case - current GPS tells you where to go and you wind up on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx at 1 AM and get in trouble. Or the "safer" system it sends you through Eastchester and you get jacked. But wouldn't you bet on the safer way anyway? Why not allow it with a disclaimer? They all haver the standard "hey this is just an idea - use your head - don't come crying to us" message you have to ack when you turn it on.
post #31 of 31
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple looking to improve GPS route-planning estimates