The IP.com Prior Art Database
English (United States)
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A system and a method for network -supported smart navigation with real -time traffic updates
Users increasingly rely on Global Positioning System (GPS)-enabled navigation devices for driving directions and for "destination recommendations" (e.g., restaurants, gas stations) and more and more vehicles come equipped/integrated with in-vehicle communication and navigation systems. The navigation systems provide driving direction and estimated time of arrival (ETA) traditionally based on road maps and posted speed limits that are stored in the devices' internal storage. However, posted speed limits are hardly an accurate indicator of the speeds attained on roads and do not account for dynamic conditions due to traffic congestions, traffic lights, road construction, etc. Furthermore, real-time traffic information broadcast over radio channels are notoriously slow-paced and, hence, not up to date and out-of-sync with current traffic conditions.
Manufacturers of GPS devices try to address this problem by recording a user's driving patterns, such as road segments traveled, distances covered, times at which entered and left road segment, etc. Then, when users connect their GPS devices to back-end servers (via PCs and Internet) to download software (SW) patches and refresh map information, they also upload the driving pattern information they have recorded on their devices. This allows the devices to estimate average speeds at different times and days and provide more effective driving directions with more accurate estimated times of arrival (ETA).
However, such an approach is applicable only to portable (personal) GPS devices that gain access to the back-end servers whenever the devices are engaging in non-navigational chores such as updating the software in the GPS device. As a result, the updated speed information could be inaccurate by the time it can be used by a driver, due to the slow (human-paced) rate at which the pertinent information is updated. Furthermore, the use of embedded road sensors to provide more up-to-date traffic information is labor intensive with both the deployment and maintenance of these sensors being expensive.
Thus, there is a need to make navigation systems more responsive to current traffic conditions, without expensive in-road sensing systems, to allow route calculation based on real-time traffic information and actual speeds attained at the current time instead of speeds posted. Furthermore, there is a need to allow integrated navigation systems that are permanently installed on vehicle dashboards to interact with back-end servers for the latest traffic and speed (actionable) information. Note that GPS-enabled cell phones (e.g., having assisted GPS (aGPS) capabilities) could possibly be used for this purpose. However, just like any GPS device, they remain ineffective for as long as they remain "in the inside pocket" hidden from satellite view. Having them out in the open negates one of the key conveniences...