Apple files for a patent for ‘routing based on detected stops’

Apple has been granted a patent (number 20170292840) for “routing based on detected stops” that would allow the Maps app on an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or CarPlay-based system to detect and re-route your trip based on continually updated traffic info.

Compatible with iPhone 5 and later models, CarPlay provides a simplified way to use your iPhone interface on a car’s touch screen, giving users access to Siri voice controls, as well as Apple Maps, Apple Music, Phone, Messages, and a variety of third party apps.

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Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “In some implementations, a mobile device can transmit traffic information to a server for analysis. The traffic information can include movement information including detected stops and durations of detected stops. The traffic information can be analyzed to detect traffic patterns that indicate locations of stop signs and/or stop lights. The traffic information can be analyzed to determine durations of stops at stop signs and/or stop lights. 

“The durations of stops can be associated with a time of day and/or day of the week. In some implementations, navigational routes can be determined based stop sign and/or stop light information, including the delays attributable to detected stop signs and/or stop lights.”

In the patent filing, Apple notes that modern mobile devices often include navigational hardware and software to aid users when traveling from one location to another. A user can input a destination and the mobile device can present one or more routes from a start location to a destination location. Often route information will include the distance from the start location to the destination location. Sometimes the route information will include an estimate of the amount of time that it will take to travel from the current location to the destination location based on distance and speed. The user may select which route to take based on the distance or estimated time. 

However, the estimated time may be inaccurate due to traffic conditions that may not be known and/or included in the time estimate. Apple wants to implement a system that deals with such inconveniences.

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.