The U.S. Patent Office has published a new patent application by Apple titled “User-specified route rating and alerts,” which reveals that Apple may be working on improving the Maps app by generating routes based on crowdsourced real-time traffic data and user preferences.
The system relies on a rating database that stores user rating both for the routes and the specific locations. The system will generate an ideal route based on this rating database and user preferences such as “Scenic Route, Light Traffic, No Construction, Smooth Roads” etc.
While driving, users would be able to flag road problems such as accident, heavy traffic, power outages, blocked roadways and even protesters, the approximate alert duration and whether the area should be avoided. The alert data for that location is then aggregated and used to warn other users about potential delays based on proximity.
When the user reaches the destination, the system would prompt the user to rate the route, which is added to the crowdsourced database and used while generating routes for other users.
The feature described in the patent sounds quite similar to the popular crowdsourced navigation app Waze, which was recently acquired by Google for $1.1 billion. Apple had denied making a bid for Waze, we now know the reason why Apple didn’t bid for it.
The patent was first filed in December 2011 and credits Jorge S. Fino as its inventor.