A recently published Apple patent application provides details of an in-vehicle navigation system that the company proposes as a safer alternative to current models. The patent describes a navigation system that would use a touch screen-based input in conjunction with a GPS, accelerometer and other sensors, to decide whether the vehicle is moving, and whether the car’s driver or passenger is attempting to operate the system.
If the vehicle is moving and the driver is attempting to operate the system, the user interface is locked down and a warning is provided. However, a passenger can be detected by a seat-based weight sensor and the angle of their touch input relative to the screen and would be given access to the system. Additional settings would be offered to enable the system’s various features to be locked down or unlocked based on specific driving conditions, the experience of the driver, and user preferences.
The application notes that the navigation system could be implemented in a variety of ways, including both hardwired and removable types. This suggests that the patent could be applied to the iPhone or iPod touch, as well as factory-installed systems. Approximately 80% of this technology is already in the iPhone and the rest of these plans could be achieved with the use of enhanced peripherals.
As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.
30 March 2009
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