Google Maps patent hints at multi-car navigation feature that would make group travel easier


According to Miriam Daniel, vice president and head of Google Maps, Google Maps is one of the most used navigation apps in the world, with 60 million active users in India alone by 2023. The web mapping platform introduces new features and improvements to existing features on a regular basis, helping solo travellers navigate geographical areas with step-by-step directions. As per a recent patent filing, it also plans to bring better functionality for those travelling in groups through a potential multi-car navigation feature.

Multi-car navigation on Google Maps

According to a patent filed by Google with the US Patent and Trademark Office (via @xleaks7) on June 25, the search giant is developing plans for a feature that would allow users from different locations to navigate to a shared destination within a specified time period.

Google Maps Patent 1 Google Maps patent for multi-car navigation

Google Maps patent for multi-car navigation
Photo credit: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office/Google

The patent, titled “Providing navigation directions by one device in view of another device”, is for a navigation service that can determine multiple users traveling to a common destination from different origin points. It is said to have access to calendar schedules and messages from users to determine users’ travel intentions. If multiple users are detected, it is claimed to coordinate the trip by sending them an invitation to join multi-car navigation and providing directions to the same destination within the same period of time.

Alternatively, users can explicitly request multi-car navigation when organising a trip.

According to the patent, the navigation service can indicate the locations of all users traveling on a map, routes shared by all parties, identify places where they can wait for each other and also suggest speed adjustments. In addition, it is also said to relay data about traffic and road conditions to all vehicles, determined by the road traveled by the leading vehicle in the group. It can also send a notification if a vehicle in the group deviates, and suggest others to stop along the way so they can catch up.

This feature is recommended to work not only with stand-alone smartphones, but also with devices connected to the vehicle’s infotainment system via USB or Bluetooth.

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