Microsoft was recently awarded a patent designed to provide walking directions that not only avoid crime ridden neighborhoods, but windy breezeways to boot.
First discovered by Geekwire, the “Pedestrian route production” patent is designed to create an intelligent maps application that adjusts directions to the surroundings, schedule, preference and time of day. The patent allows for technology to map walkers around neighborhoods with high crime rates, as well as open areas that may subject the walker to harsh temperatures.
“As a pedestrian travels, various difficulties can be encountered, such as traveling through an unsafe neighborhood or being in an open area that is subject to harsh temperatures,” the patent reads. “A route can be developed for a person taking into account factors that specifically affect a pedestrian. Moreover, the route can alter as a situation of a user changes; for instance, if a user wants to add a stop along a route.”
In addition to low crime neighborhoods and shelter from the wind, the patent allows users to customize their walk home.
“The route planning application can include or utilize representations of roads and intersections and one or more algorithms to output a suggested route of travel,” the patent reads. “These algorithms can output routes depending upon user-selected parameters. For instance, a commercial route planning application can include a check box that enables a user to specify that she wishes to avoid highways. Similarly, a user can inform the route planning application that she wishes to travel on a shortest route or a route that takes a least amount of time (as determined by underlying algorithms).”
Microsoft first applied for the patent in 2007. It is unclear whether Microsoft has implemented the patent into its Microsoft Bing maps, which added walking directions in 2010. Google first added walking directions to its maps in 2008.