This month, Apple filed a patent application for “Humanized Navigation Instructions for Mapping Applications.” Their intention is that this new application will be a state-of-the-art way of giving directions that far outweighs the standard map apps or GPS directions that are currently popular today.
According to Apple, their new navigations are supposed to “mimic a real human navigator” when giving directions and are “less stressful” overall. But what exactly will this look like? Let’s take a look at some of the features of their new navigation system.
How This New Piece of Auto Technology Works
If you’ve punched-in the coordinates on your smart phone or GPS to a place you’ve never been before, you’re relying pretty heavily on your digital companion to get you where you need to go in unfamiliar territory. Hearing a little voice say “in 670 meters, turn right” isn’t all that comforting. How many lights away are you from 670 meters? How many ‘meters per hour’ are you even driving at?
What Apple’s new mapping navigation does is analyze the local area and give you instructions using landmarks. Instead of telling the driver to turn left after a set distance it would say something like “When you see the Starbucks on your left, you have reached Main Street. Turn left”. Kind-of like a real person would! Also, once you get to where you’re going, Apple’s planned system should be able to describe visible attributes of your destination.
Current In-Car Mapping Systems
There’s no set release date for Apple’s new system, and it’s unclear as to how far along they are in its development, but it is expected to be a huge improvement on their last GPS attempt.
Apple received a lot of criticism when it launched its own maps app in 2012. It was developed as a competitor to Google Maps, but it launched with inaccurate directions and a whole list of errors including leaving out entire chunks of cities. Apple hurried to fix the errors, but the executive in charge of maps at the time, Scott Forstall, was let go from the company.
Some speculations are that with this humanized navigation system, Apple may be planning a big update to its maps app. There have been several sightings of vans registered to the company driving around US cities with mapping equipment on their roofs. Could it be that Apple is developing a competitor to Google Street View? We should find out within the next year.
The Future of Automotive?
In order for a mapping system to analyze the area you’re driving in, a vehicle would need some sort of 360 degree spacial awareness. Students looking to pursue careers in auto may already be familiar with technologies being incorporated into current vehicles such as the Tesla S, which include cameras and radars to make your vehicle more autonomous.
By adding humanized navigation into cars that seem to be leaning more and more toward becoming self-driving machines, there may come a day when vehicle owners may only need to get into the driver’s seat, say “400 Wiltchire Boulevard” and let the automated steering wheel do the rest. Interesting concept, and a lot of emerging technology for any automotive service technician to look out for!
What other features do you think would improve Apple’s maps application? How will this new technology impact students studying at an auto career college?