Apple was issued a patent for a smart travel route creation system that relies on real-time crowd-sourced stop sign and stop light-based traffic analysis in order to determine the fastest path to a destination.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Apple the patent today (July 29), according to Apple Insider.
According to Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,793,062 for "Routing based on detected stops," the system collects and analyzes traffic data from devices like iPhones to find the location and operating pattern of stop signs and stop lights.
The information is more accurate than conventional traffic monitoring methods. It can be used to create faster routes and even for departure time suggestions, according Apple Insider.
The service relies on an iPhone's GPS module to figure out when a user is in a moving vehicle. The device is able to figure out the location and time spent at stop lights and stop signs by correlating the GPS position data with information from the system clock and onboard accelerometer.
The system studies movement as a function of time to determine whether a vehicle is stopped at a stop sign or stop light.
The location and pattern of a stop light might be determined by lumping together data from multiple vehicles that stop close to a known intersection for a long duration of time, then moving through the intersection all at once.
This also allows for analysis and tracking of stop light patterns, according to Apple Insider.
Stop sign and stop light information can be pushed to a device or devices running a navigation app, like Apple's Maps. Stop signs, stop lights, and accidents can be displayed graphically on a map.
The data is also used to let people know of expected or real-time delays.
Apple's stop light and stop sign-based traffic analysis and routing patent was first filed for in 2012. It credits Jorge S. Fino as the inventor of the service.