Google Maps Patent Hints at a Multi-Car Navigation Feature, Enabling Easier Group Travel

Google Maps Patent Hints at a Multi-Car Navigation Feature, Enabling Easier Group Travel

Google Maps is one of the most widely used navigation apps in the world, with 60 million active users in India alone as of 2023, according to Miriam Daniel, Vice President and Head of Google Maps. The web mapping platform introduces new features and improvements to existing ones on a regular basis, helping solo travellers navigate across geographical regions with step-by-step directions. According to a recent patent filing, it may be planning to bring enhanced functionality for those travelling in groups too, via 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 which allows users from different locations to navigate to a shared destination within a specified time period.

Google Maps Patent for Multi-Car Navigation
Photo Credit: US Patent and Trademark Office/Google

The patent, titled “Providing Navigation Instructions to One Device in View of Another Device”, is for a navigation service that can determine multiple users travelling to a common destination from different origin points. It is said to have access to the calendar schedule and messages of users to determine the travelling intentions of users. If multiple users are detected, it is claimed to coordinate the travel by sending them invites to join the multi-car navigation and providing directions to the same destination within similar periods.

Alternatively, users may be able to place explicit requests for multi-car navigation when organising trips.

The navigation service can indicate the locations of all users travelling on the map, routes shared by all parties, identify places where they can wait for each other and also suggest speed adjustments, as per the patent. Furthermore, it is also said to relay data about the traffic and road conditions to all the vehicles, determining it by the road traversed by the lead vehicle in the group. It may also send a notification if a vehicle in the group takes a detour, and suggest stops on the way to others in order to let them catch up.

The feature is suggested to work with smartphones not only operating as standalone but also devices connected to a vehicle’s infotainment system via either USB or Bluetooth.

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