A recently published Apple patent application provides details of a “safe” in-vehicle navigation system that the company proposes as an improvement on current and somewhat frustrating alternatives. More specifically, the patent discusses a touch screen-based navigation system that could use touch input in conjunction with a GPS, accelerometer, or other sensors, to sense both whether the vehicle is moving, and whether the car’s driver or passenger is attempting to operate the nav system.
If the vehicle is moving and the driver is attempting to operate the system, the user interface is locked down and a warning is provided; by comparison, a passenger can be detected by a seat-based weight sensor and the angle of his or her touch input relative to the screen. Additional settings would be offered to enable the system’s various features to be locked down or unlocked based on specific driving conditions, the experience of the driver, and user preferences.
The application notes that the navigation system could be implemented in a variety of ways, including in both hardwired and removable manners, suggesting the patent could be applied to the iPhone and iPod touch as well as factory-installed systems. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.