Apple's Waze-like navigation system creates routes based on user ratings, real-time accident reporti

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published an Apple application for a method of generating car travel routes based on user preference and crowd-sourced real-time traffic data.

Route
Source: USPTO


Much like the popular crowd-sourced navigation app Waze, which was recently acquired by Google, Apple's "User-specified route rating and alerts" patent filing generates custom routing information based on user input. As described, the system pertains to cellular-enabled mobile devices with built-in GPS components, like an iPhone or iPad.

Unique to the application is a built-in system that allows users to assign a number rating to a route just traveled, which is then sent to a central navigation service that generates separate routes for other users based on the information.

In order to operate efficiently, the system relies on a rating database that stores user ratings for both routes and specific locations, which can be pushed to other users' devices if so configured.

Walking through an example process, the patent application notes users will start the navigation engine by selecting a route with start and end points. The system will generate an ideal route based on user preferences, filtering out unwanted configurations. For example, a user may want to take a "scenic" route, or one that has a minimum number of star ratings from other users.

As a user drives, they can initiate alerts at any given point along their selected route. Along with positioning data, other information can be added, like approximate alert duration, type of alert, and whether an alert area should be avoided. If there are multiple entries for a given location, the central navigation service will aggregate them accordingly based on proximity.

Route
Alert reporting.


Once in the database, these alerts can be presented to other drivers when necessary, or when a device is within predefined threshold distance. For example, a poorly rated location or accident will only be displayed on a user's device if they are within five miles of the incident.

When a user comes to the end of their specified route, the system presents a rating interface based on either numbers or stars. This information is used to generate new routes, or parts of routes, for other users.

Route
Illustration of end of route screen and rating graphic.


The implementations described are very close to those already in use by crowd-sourced apps like Waze, which supports not only accident reporting, but current average speeds and social networking assets as well.

It is unclear if Apple will one day include the crowd-sourced alert and route rating system into its Maps app, though the number of iOS devices in use could make for a robust network if deployed correctly.

Apple's route rating patent application was first filed for in December 2011 and credits Jorge S. Fino as its inventor.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
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  • Reply 2 of 37
    macfandavemacfandave Posts: 603member
    I'm wondering how this will affect Google's acquisition of Waze. It seems that the application date is too late to shut down Waze, but I'll bet Apple can extract licensing fees for some features.

    When Google bought Waze, I not only deleted the app, but I also made sure I deleted my account. I'm OK with giving up my location to help other drivers in the area, but not to be hassled by cloying Google ads.
  • Reply 3 of 37
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member
    If you read the claims of the patent application, you'll see that this application requires asking the user to rate a route after they reach their destination.
    Someone that uses Waze, let us know if It does this.
  • Reply 4 of 37
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member
    I can see apple implementing this. When you reach your destination, a window pops up that says, "rate this route".
    It's actually a really good idea. If someone got led astray, they will be pissed and the ability to give feedback will assuage their anger.
  • Reply 5 of 37
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member


    I really feel, Google acquired Waze onto to stop Apple doing so.

  • Reply 6 of 37
    notscottnotscott Posts: 247member


    Even though it's just a few assessments and a few clicks, it seems like the user is being asked to care about other drivers a whole lot more than I'm used to seeing.

  • Reply 7 of 37
    itpromikeitpromike Posts: 44member
    Oh great, another amazing patent with broad sweeping and exciting possibilities that will probably never see the light of day in an Apple product because they're too scared to implement it (in any true usable or functional way anyway) because maybe 1 out of 50 people might have a slight learning curve with it. Maybe if Android does it (which might actually happen since the waze acquisition) and enough fans complain about the lack of it on iOS then Apple might consider doing it in a watered down way. Meh, they have some of the most amazing patents and it's just maddening to see them go to waste. Wish they would start manning up.
  • Reply 8 of 37
    technotechno Posts: 735member


    Seems like a lot user interaction required while driving. In a time when there is a big push against texting and driving, it seems like this needs to be adjusted more towards hands free. Perhaps if you are not moving for a certain amount of time or you go off the routed course, Siri will ask if everything is ok and wait for a verbal reply.


     


     


     


    A hypothetical Siri conversation.


    SIRI: "I have noticed you diverted from the route, is everything ok?"


     


    DRIVER: "No."


     


    SIRI: "Is there an accident, road construction, traffic or an ex girlfriend's house?"


     


    DRIVER: "ha ha ha ha.......traffic."


     


    SIRI: "Did I say something funny?"



  • Reply 9 of 37
    iamnemaniiamnemani Posts: 64member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by itpromike View Post



    Oh great, another amazing patent with broad sweeping and exciting possibilities that will probably never see the light of day in an Apple product because they're too scared to implement it (in any true usable or functional way anyway) because maybe 1 out of 50 people might have a slight learning curve with it. Maybe if Android does it (which might actually happen since the waze acquisition) and enough fans complain about the lack of it on iOS then Apple might consider doing it in a watered down way. Meh, they have some of the most amazing patents and it's just maddening to see them go to waste. Wish they would start manning up.


    There ARE two options you know, instead of just copying!!


     


    1. Innovate like apple and find a better way to do it


     


    2. Ask apple nicely for a license to the patent, and pay for the license!! (The problem for these other companies is this! They want to give things away for free, so they have no choice but to steal instead of paying the licensing fees). 


     


    As a software developer I hate this free nonsense! Any cars being sold for free out there? or staplers? or homes? music? movies? or anything infact! Why should software be free? It can be cheap, the price can be a downright steal, but free it shouldn't be. Too many developers suffering because people have gotten used to getting free software out there!

  • Reply 10 of 37
    ny3rangerny3ranger Posts: 77member
    I always thought that reporting accident during your drive is too manual of a task. If you are using maps and are on a highway and going much slower then posted limit shouldnt it be a safe bet that there is an accident when you look at it with croud sourcing point of view. If 10 people are going slower then its gotta be an accident.

    I just think needing to report an accident is to manual and apple can make a better system.
  • Reply 11 of 37


    "If you read the claims of the patent application, you'll see that this application requires asking the user to rate a route after they reach their destination.


    Someone that uses Waze, let us know if It does this."


     


    No, Waze doesn't ask you to rate the route after driving it.  It monitors users' speeds so it can determine how long the route took without having to ask input from the user.


     


    Also, when presenting you with route options, it shows which routes already have congestion, and approximately where the congestion is located.

  • Reply 12 of 37
    bilbo63bilbo63 Posts: 285member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ny3ranger View Post



    I always thought that reporting accident during your drive is too manual of a task. If you are using maps and are on a highway and going much slower then posted limit shouldnt it be a safe bet that there is an accident when you look at it with croud sourcing point of view. If 10 people are going slower then its gotta be an accident.



    I just think needing to report an accident is to manual and apple can make a better system.


    Agreed.


     


    There are some times when I wouldn't mind tagging slowdown as a construction area or an accident, but it would have to be a quick and easy process. If I look at the map and see that 30 miles down the road, the traffic is backed up, it might be nice to know if the cause is road work or a fender-bender. A fender bender could be cleaned up relatively quickly where as road construction might continue for days.


     


    It would be nice if construction zones were reported by the construction company or car accidents by the police so they are automatically tagged on the map. When the accident is cleaned up, that could be immediately reflected on the map as well.


     


    I agree though, I am most interested in how fast the traffic is flowing than anything else.

  • Reply 13 of 37

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post



    I'm wondering how this will affect Google's acquisition of Waze. It seems that the application date is too late to shut down Waze, but I'll bet Apple can extract licensing fees for some features.



    When Google bought Waze, I not only deleted the app, but I also made sure I deleted my account. I'm OK with giving up my location to help other drivers in the area, but not to be hassled by cloying Google ads.


     


    Extract licensing fees for what features?  


     


    As for cloying ads, Apple will be feeding them to you, instead.  They're not investing millions and millions of dollars on their mapping software to protect you from ads.

  • Reply 14 of 37
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    itpromike wrote: »
    Oh great, another amazing patent with broad sweeping and exciting possibilities that will probably never see the light of day in an Apple product because they're too scared to implement it (in any true usable or functional way anyway) because maybe 1 out of 50 people might have a slight learning curve with it. Maybe if Android does it (which might actually happen since the waze acquisition) and enough fans complain about the lack of it on iOS then Apple might consider doing it in a watered down way. Meh, they have some of the most amazing patents and it's just maddening to see them go to waste. Wish they would start manning up.

    Maybe when they get their HQ built they can expand into more areas. And their data center network built out about twice what it is now.

    I have the impression from their problems "manning up" with Siri and Maps that they are already at the limit of their resources, in terms of facilities and personnel. This company has grown maybe faster than any in history in a complex field, and it won't do to just stamp your feet to make them do what you want. Patience is required. It's an old concept from days gone by when things used to take time . . .
  • Reply 15 of 37
    markbritonmarkbriton Posts: 119member
    flaneur wrote: »
    Maybe when they get their HQ built they can expand into more areas. And their data center network built out about twice what it is now.

    I have the impression from their problems "manning up" with Siri and Maps that they are already at the limit of their resources, in terms of facilities and personnel. This company has grown maybe faster than any in history in a complex field, and it won't do to just stamp your feet to make them do what you want. Patience is required. It's an old concept from days gone by when things used to take time . . .

    Agreed. Maps is a good example of making the mistake of rushing something to market before it's ready. The level of scrutiny Apple is subjected to is far higher than someone like Google (who is allowed to release products that are instant flops without any negative publicity). Apple tends to take existing technology and simplify it to the point that the average user understands the value of it and actually uses it.
  • Reply 16 of 37
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    notscott wrote: »
    Even though it's just a few assessments and a few clicks, it seems like the user is being asked to care about other drivers a whole lot more than I'm used to seeing.

    Perhaps. But it could also be useful to the individual. For instance, near me there are several main freeways that are down to one lane for road construction, and it's an ongoing summer-long thing. It would be nice to permanently tag it so I always get re-routed.
  • Reply 17 of 37
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    techno wrote: »
    Seems like a lot user interaction required while driving. In a time when there is a big push against texting and driving, it seems like this needs to be adjusted more towards hands free. Perhaps if you are not moving for a certain amount of time or you go off the routed course, Siri will ask if everything is ok and wait for a verbal reply.



    Yeah this seems perfect for Siri.

    I just saw my first Siri car ad the other day. It was using the old voice, of course.
  • Reply 18 of 37
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Extract licensing fees for what features?  

    As for cloying ads, Apple will be feeding them to you, instead.  They're not investing millions and millions of dollars on their mapping software to protect you from ads.

    Odd I do not see any ads in any other currently released Apple product. Apple let's developers use ads in their products, but Apple has not placed ads in its own.

    This will change with iTunes Radio, but the ads are necessary to pay for the music if you elect the free streaming option.

    I will be terribly surprised to see Apple use ads in its mapping product. Apple just wants to sell hardware.
  • Reply 19 of 37

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TBell View Post





    Odd I do not see any ads in any other currently released Apple product. Apple let's developers use ads in their products, but Apple has not placed ads in its own.



    This will change with iTunes Radio, but the ads are necessary to pay for the music if you elect the free streaming option.



    I will be terribly surprised to see Apple use ads in its mapping product. Apple just wants to sell hardware.


    Give it time.  They'll start providing ad spots in map search results and/or highlighting certain businesses on maps.  Building maps and acquiring mapping companies and data without monetizing it is a terribly inefficient way to sell hardware.

  • Reply 20 of 37
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member
    The whole maps debacle could have been avoided if Apple had only added one word to the software's title: beta. Apple maps beta.

    If your software has some kinks call it a beta.

    Regarding ads I suggest the map app work perfectly until you are deep into the trip. Then it forces you to watch a commercial in order to find out how to go the rest of the way.
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