Today, US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that deals with an augmented reality device to provide next-generation navigation for Maps. The AR unit may be embedded in future vehicles (a Project Titan vehicle or not). Alternatively, the AR unit may be a pair of smart glasses or a next-generation iPhone mounted on the vehicle's dashboard. The devices must have an advanced AR camera embedded within it to enable the use of this proposed augmented reality mapping system.
Apple patent application states that an augmented reality device can improve and enhance the easy way a device can convey lane guidance information to a user traveling along a route.
The unit can take a series of pictures (eg, video recordings) in front of the augmented reality device which closely represents what is actually perceived by the user, and displays it taken in real time, e.g. On a screen of the device or as a projection.
At the same time, the device may overlay a navigation layer over the displayed photographs to guide the user into one or more paths that will best place the user to continue along the route.
To enable this functionality, the augmented reality device can be configured to communicate with one or more Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and one or more route servers. The GPS satellites can use triangulation to provide the location of the device, and the route server can use one or more databases to provide route information about the route between a place of origin and a destination location (or to any intermediate location between the origin and destination locations).
The route information may include, but is not limited to, road information (e.g., route identification along the route, which segments of this road to travel, geographically located for those roads, the geographical location of paths in each path, and in which order the roads should be run, turn information (eg, which turns are needed along the route and in what order), lane information (eg, number and location of lanes for each road segment), and distance information (e.g. distance to In some embodiments, the augmented reality device may also be configured to communicate with other positioning systems, for example, but not limited to, wireless fidelity-based positioning systems, mobile-based positioning systems, satellite-based positioning systems, and other global systems. navigation satellite systems (GNSS).
With this information, the augmented reality device can analyze video footage one to determine the number of paths available. The unit can then correlate the video recordings with the location of the device, which can be taken as the location of the vehicle, and identify one or more designated paths from the available path (s) that the vehicle is to travel to reside in the route. The device can display the slideshow along with a navigation layer above the slideshow to guide the user into the appropriate field, or a number of appropriate paths, if applicable.
In some embodiments, the navigation layer may block areas (e.g., lanes, curbs, pavements) of the captured images where the vehicle is not intended to travel, and leave unblocked regions (e.g. lanes) where the vehicle is intended to travel. In this way, the user can clearly understand which path he or she should be in. In further embodiments, the navigation layer may contain an indicator located over the non-blocked area.
The indicator may be a single directional arrow or a series of directional arrows pointing to the direction in which the user is to travel. The indicator may, for example, be a straight arrow pointing diagonally to the right, indicating that the user should switch fields to the right.
In another case, the indictment may be a series of multiple diagonal arrows that flash in an order indicating the same. The indicator may flash to convey a degree of pressure to the user to perform the specified task.
Additionally, in some embodiments, a pop-up window may be displayed in the navigation layer to provide more information to the user about the upcoming turn. For example, the popup window may be a bird's eye view of a turn that the user is about to take. In this way, the user can better understand what is about to happen.
Overlaying a navigation layer of video footage about what the user can see helps clearly communicate navigation and driving guidance information to the user. The augmented reality device can provide significant improvements in navigation and driving guidance over conventional devices that only provide symbols to guide a user along a route.
Devices that provide navigation using symbols require the user to decipher the symbols in real time and use them immediately on what the user perceives, which may not always be easy to do. In the Apple patent, FIG. 3 below we can see a snapshot illustrating an exemplary implementation of an augmented reality device in a vehicle ; FIG. 2 is a snapshot illustrating an exemplary navigation interface of an augmented reality device.
More specifically, Apple's patent Figure 3 above illustrates an exemplary implementation (# 300) of an augmented reality unit (No. 302 highlighted in yellow) .
The augmented reality device can be used in a vehicle that is capable of being driven or otherwise controlled by a user. In some embodiments, the augmented reality device may include a camera (not shown) for taking pictures of the front area (# 306), or may include hardware and communication software with a separate camera positioned to capture images. front area.
If the AR unit includes a camera, then the device can be placed against a windscreen or anywhere in the vehicle so that the device can perceive a front area of the vehicle. In some embodiments, the device may be integrated into the vehicle 304.
To enable the augmented reality device to provide navigation and / or lane guidance functions, the device may be configured to communicate with external devices, e.g. more GPS satellites (# 308) and a router server (# 310) through a wireless network (# 312
The expanded reality device can be configured to receive location data from a GPS satellite and route information from the router, analyzing captured images for to determine available paths in front of the car, apply route information and position data to the analyzed images, and then overlay a navigation layer over the captured images while the captured images are displayed simultaneously to the user, thereby providing an extended reality interface to a user ( shown in Fig. 2.)
While the AR unit may be a future custom device, Apple notes that "the device may be one iPhone [with a next gen AR backside camera that has already been forecasted] or a pair of smart glasses . "
In a slightly humorous note describing AR interfaces in FIG. 2, Apple notes that "By providing horizon (# 212), the navigation layer can clearly indicate that the blocked area (# 208) applies to the ground on which the user is traveling and not the sky." Well, thank you, I don't want to make that mistake.
In addition to the blocked area and the unblocked region (# 210), the navigation layer may also include additional functions such as one or more indicators and texts. For example, the navigation layer may include an indicator 216 which visually communicates to the user the intended driving direction. The navigation layer may also include text 218, such as the name of the street, road or highway that the user is currently traveling on. Furthermore, the navigation layer may include additional information about the road, such as speed limit information 220, to inform the user of the maximum travel speed of the road in question. The navigation layer may also contain more route information, for example upcoming turn information in the form of a pop-up window.
Apple's Patent FIG. 4 below is a block diagram illustrating an example of augmented reality system that can be implemented in an augmented reality device to enable the functions of navigation and lane guidance by augmented reality.
Apple's Patent Figure 5A below is a simplified top-down diagram of a vehicle running along a segment of an exemplary route Figures 5B and 5C are snapshots illustrating a navigation layer overlaid with images taken, for example, where only one path in a multi-strand road segment is a designated lane.
Apple patent FIG. 8A below is a simplified top-down diagram of a vehicle running along a segment of an exemplary route having an unusual turn; FIG. 8B is a snapshot illustrating an example layer of navigation including a pop-up window after a threshold distance is crossed; FIG. 8C is a snapshot illustrating an example of a navigation layer that includes a pop-up window that the vehicle of FIG. 8B meets the U-turn, according to some embodiments of the present disclosure. 5x Apple Patents Fig. 8Abc 9 AR Vechicles Unit
Apple's patent figure 9 above is a block diagram of a method for performing navigation and lane guidance. 
Apple's patent application published today by the US Patent Office was sent back in Q1 2019. Some of the work dates back to Q1 2018. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product is to market is unknown at this time.
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