The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 47 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a new mapping and CarPlay invention that was originally filed under the inventors' names and not Apple. One of the inventors was also behind another Project Titan-type of invention relating to vehicle collision detection. Today's granted patent covers electronic equipment in a system that transmits and receives wireless alerts. The transmitting equipment may be associated with stationary equipment such as equipment installed at a building, adjacent to a road, or in traffic control equipment or other traffic structures. The receiving electronic equipment may be mobile equipment such as a vehicle (or CarPlay in a vehicle) or mobile computing equipment such as a cellular telephone or portable computer. The advanced system is designed to keep drivers informed about road conditions, speed alerts and so forth. The system is designed to work where GPS fails.
Specifically, Apple notes that today's GPS navigation systems in vehicles can have difficulties in accurately determining which branch of the road a vehicle is located on. As a result, commercially available GPS solutions may not provide sufficient resolution to determine when a vehicle has exited a freeway.
In cities, the presence of tall buildings can make it difficult to receive an accurate GPS signal. Tall buildings create what is sometimes referred to as an urban canyon environment. In an urban canyon environment, the presence of buildings and landscaping can block the open sky from view by a GPS receiver. Reflections can also degrade GPS signals by causing multi-path interference. As a result, GPS location information can be slow or impossible to obtain. Apple tried to tackle this issue in another invention that we covered last year in a report titled "Apple Invents a Sophisticated Positioning Accuracy System to Assist Users Navigating through Urban Canyons." Today's invention provides an alternative solution for this current problem.
Granted Patent: System with Wireless Messages to Enhance Location Accuracy
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to electronic equipment and, more particularly, to electronic equipment with wireless circuitry that can be used by the equipment to identify the location of the equipment. The receiving electronic equipment may be mobile equipment such as a vehicle or mobile computing equipment such as a cellular telephone or portable computer. The receiving electronic equipment may present alerts to a user or may update the position of an icon on a map that represents the location of the receiving electronic equipment.
About the Patent Figures
Apple's patent FIG. 2 noted above is a diagram showing how multiple pieces of equipment in a system may wirelessly interact with each other and with external satellite navigation system equipment; FIG. 7 is a diagram of a road showing how wireless equipment that is located at stationary locations near the road may be used in helping to ascertain the location of mobile electronic equipment; FIG. 9 is a diagram of a road with wireless equipment that is being used to advertise information about road conditions to passing vehicles; FIG. 10 shows an illustrative display screen of the type that may be presented to alert a driver of a vehicle to upcoming road conditions such as speed reductions, road construction bridge height and more; FIG. 12 is a flow chart of illustrative steps involved in wirelessly gathering signals such as locally broadcast wireless messages to use in ascertaining location
Apple's granted patent 9,344,989 was originally filed in Q3 2012 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. See Apple's granted patent to review the wireless methodologies Apple's invention covers, including iBeacon/Bluetooth Low Energy Messages.
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