Apple Maps does this automatically when it's in charge of the navigation experience in a car. Waze and Google Maps can also keep track of the parked car location, though the first can’t offer walking directions.
Ford believes this technology can be significantly upgraded. To do this, the company has come up with an AR-powered system whose role would be specifically to provide guidance to your parked car.
A patent called “augmented reality displays for locating vehicles” describes how the phone camera can be used to find a vehicle.
More specifically, a dedicated system would determine the vehicle position and the location of the user by analyzing GPS information. After comparing the two locations, it can generate a walking route from the location of the user to the vehicle. The mobile phone can be used to access the augmented reality interface that would then guide users to the car.
Thanks to AR-powered navigation, walking toward the vehicle would rely on a realistic view of the surroundings. Such an experience is already available in Google Maps and other apps, helping users find certain locations using real-life imagery.
Ford, however, says the same implementation could be used for other approaches. In one scenario, the company explains that this technology can be implemented in ride-sharing services. The goal would be to guide users to the vehicle for pick-up. The company explains that way too often, users step into another vehicle – yes, apparently, that’s a thing. With this technology, users would activate an AR-powered experience that would scan the nearby buildings and roads and mark the vehicle as it approaches their location.
Furthermore, the application can provide walking directions to the pick-up point. Once there, the augmented reality interface would track the location of the vehicle on the map.
Ford says additional systems could also come into play to help users identify the booked vehicle. In some cases, the lights of the vehicle can activate when approaching the user.
Ford’s idea makes sense when trying to find the location of a parked car, but otherwise, integrating it into a ride-hailing service looks particularly challenging. Most services already provide vehicle identification information, including license plate details and other data. As such, determining what vehicle you should step in shouldn’t raise any problems if you check out the information offered by the app.