On July 16, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's iPhone in-vehicle navigation systems and services. This particular patent covers estimated time travel and is a direct follow through patent to one published on June 18 concerning the operational state of the vehicle. This is Apple's fourth in-vehicle navigation patent this year. The other patents were covered in reports titled A Future iPhone could Advance Sophisticated In-Vehicle Navigation System Functionality and Apple Intros In-Vehicle Cryptographically Paired Technology. With scores of vehicles already offering iPod integration, the next wave of in-vehicle navigation systems working with Apple's iPhone is likely in the works at this very moment.
Example Navigation System
Apple's patent FIG. 1 is a block diagram of example navigation system 100 for estimating travel time. System 100 can include one or more of vehicle computing system 102, navigation system 104 and Apple's iPhone noted here as mobile device 106. In some implementations, the vehicle computing system could be coupled to the navigation system and provide the navigation system with information related to the operation of the vehicle (e.g., speed, fuel consumption, and braking information). In other implementations, vehicle computing system can include navigation system.
In some implementations, the navigation system can be installed in the vehicle or can be a portable device. Apple's iPhone could include the navigation system or it could be coupled (e.g., physically using a tether or dock or wirelessly) to the navigation system. The navigation system and/or iPhone could be operable to provide estimated travel time 110 for a route being traveled by the navigation system and/or iPhone. The navigation system and/or iPhone could include display 108 for displaying navigation data, such as a map highlighting the route to be navigated.
Example Network for Estimating Travel Time
Apple's patent FIG. 5 illustrates example network 500 for estimating travel time. In some implementations, the navigation system can communicate over one or more wired and/or wireless networks 512 (e.g., the Internet, WLAN). For example, access point 508, such as an 802.11g wireless access point, can provide communication access to network 512. In some implementations, the navigation system can be physically connected to access point 508 using one or more cables and access point can be a vehicle computer system.
The navigation system can communicate with one or more services over one or more wired and/or wireless networks. For example, navigation service 504 can provide navigation information, e.g., map information, location information, route information, and other information, to the navigation system. Such information can be stored in remote database 512. In other implementations, the navigation system obtains map, location and route information from local database 510. In other implementations, the navigation system uses a combination of local database 510 and remote database to store data for use in estimating travel times. Traffic information service 506 can provide traffic information (including travel time estimates) to the navigation system which can be used to improve or confirm the accuracy of time travel estimates computed by the navigation system.
Partial list of Automakers with iPod Integration
Apple credits Brett Gregory Alten as the sole inventor of patent application 20090182492.
Another Noteworthy Patent: Another noteworthy patent application was published today that generally relates to a new Remote Diagnostic Service that reps at Apple's Genius Bar could utilize (patent 20090182533)
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