An Apple patent, filed back in December 2011, has been discovered. It hints at the possibility of Waze like traffic data coming over to Apple’s native Maps app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Waze is basically a service that offers crowdsourced traffic data. Apple has long been rumored to be interested in such an offering, a few months ago it was said that Apple might acquire Waze, but that didn’t happen. Soon after that, Waze was acquired by Google. Apple’s newly discovered patent hints at features similar to Waze, allowing users to submit information that will be used to help generate viable routes for other users.
The patent itself is called ‘User-specific route rating and alerts.’ In it is descriptions concerning the method through which Maps app will generate routing information based on input that has already been submitted by other users. There will be a unique system built in the app which will allow users to submit a number rating for the route they have just travelled. This input goes to a central navigation service that generates routes for all users, and this service will analyze input based on the suggested alternative or the best possible route for another user.
Users will also be able to flag locations; for example if they see roadwork or an accident on the route they’re travelling, they can flag that in Maps, and this input goes to the central service which will prompt other users who are in the proximity of that flagged location. One would think that the the acquisition of Waze would have made it a lot easier for Apple to integrate all of these features.
It’s now confirmed that Apple indeed has a plan for bringing crowdsourced traffic data to Maps, what remains to be seen if and when it will formally integrate all of these features and release them for end users.