Apple is looking to make voice directions in Maps feel more natural as if they were being provided by a real human, a new patent application shows. The company hopes to do away with vague instructions that can be unhelpful and confusing to drivers.
The patent is entitled “Humanized Navigation Instructions for Mapping Applications,” and it describes a system that “focuses on comprehension rather than precision,” which could eventually give Maps an advantage over rival services from Google and others.
Voice navigation would work in much the same way, but the instructions it would provide would be easier to understand. Apple hopes to do away with commands like “turn right after 500 feet,” or “turn left into Central Avenue,” which can be difficult to understand if you’re not familiar with local road names already.
Instead, Apple describes how its system could use nearby buildings and landmarks that are easy to recognize — and more detailed descriptions of the things around you.
For instance, Apple’s system could tell you to “turn left immediately after the McDonald’s restaurant,” or, “your destination is on the left after you pass the school with the water fountain in the front.”
Apple has long been working to improve Maps following its dismal launch alongside iOS 6 back in September 2012, but although the service is much more reliable now, it still doesn’t offer any real advantage over something like Google Maps, which is already immensely popular.
Voice directions that are much easier to understand could change that for those who travel to unfamiliar places on a frequent basis. But of course, Apple patents are never a guarantee of things to come, so we’ll have to wait and see what the company does with this one.[via Cult of Mac]