Mike Stevens | Mar 30, 2009

Navigation systems in passenger cars can be tricky - or at least inconvenient - to operate, especially when driving. Some take so much darn fiddling that they are can become serious distractions for the driver and compromise safety as a result.

Now, perhaps as part of a plan to head off Microsoft’s efforts, it looks like Apple Computer is about to enter the game.

"Many navigation systems use knobs and pushbuttons for entering destination and other information for use in determining driving directions," an Apple statement said.

"The accurate use of such input devices may force the driver to take her eyes off the road, resulting in a potentially hazardous condition."

apple-gps-nav-satnav_2

According to Apple Insider, Steve Jobs and crew have filed a patent for a new type of in-car touch-screen, installed as either an in-built system or as a standalone device such as the iPhone.

Features of the technology include voice-activated navigation and directions, and settings that would limit the screen’s controls to the front passenger while the vehicle is in motion.

"Some conventional solutions may request that the user acknowledge the warning by pressing a pushbutton, for example. Once acknowledged, the navigation system typically becomes operable to the driver," the filing said.

"Also, there are few safety concerns with a passenger in the vehicle operating the navigation system while the vehicle is moving.

"For passengers, the warnings may be unnecessary or irritating, and locking down the operation of the navigation system would prevent the passenger from operating the navigation system regardless of whether it was safe to do so."

The patent application also mentions various forms of technology more common in mobile phones and wireless devices, such as SMS and 802.11b/g wireless connectivity, CDMA/GSM/EDGE networks and more.

Remember, folks: April Fool’s Day is is nearly upon us, so that factor should be considered as well.

[via Apple Insider]

Follow Mike Stevens on Google+