Google Already Planning a Massive Google Maps AR Navigation Update

Augmented reality is here to stay, and Google wants to turn it into a vital part of the driving experience. The company has recently patented a new system that would turn AR into a first-class citizen of Google Maps’ feature lineup, eventually making navigation more straightforward, convenient, and safer.
Google Maps is one of the companies investing big in AR 10 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/USPTO
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The patent is called “dynamic augmented reality overlay display,” and while it does not specifically focus on the hardware side of things, it details how AR could work in a car.

Google says everything would be powered by an overlay display in charge of displaying the AR-generated data.

It’s not hard to figure out how augmented reality content would be projected in front of the driver. Google says its AR technology allows the application to clearly highlight the navigation route the driver must follow. Route guidance instructions can appear over the road as you drive, while certain objects, such as traffic lights and road signs, can be flagged for the user to see them more clearly.

An AR-powered navigation system would put everything in front of the driver’s eyes while enhancing the routing guidance using dynamic instructions.

Thinking of lane guidance is the easiest way to understand how everything would work. Right now, Google Maps tells drivers what lane to use by showing the available lanes in the navigation interface. The recommended lane for the next turn is highlighted automatically, and you can read the information by looking at the phone’s screen.

Thanks to the integration of AR support, the recommended lane would be highlighted right on the road. Google Maps can use clear markings like arrows showing precisely what lane you must use to stick to the suggested route. The information would appear in front of the driver’s eyes in real time, reducing driver distraction.

Augmented reality can completely transform the navigation experience. Google Maps can use the entire Google directory information to highlight points of interest, shops, restaurants, landmarks, and so on. All the data currently available in Google Maps could eventually make its way to an AR-powered world sitting in front of our eyes.

The search giant is already planning a more advanced system relying on 3D renderings when the data can’t be processed correctly. Due to occlusions, Google’s AR technology would turn to special renderings to provide relevant data to the driver, comparing the real-time imagery with its own database.

Sure enough, integrating augmented reality into the navigation experience can’t happen overnight, so you’d better not hold your breath for this to happen. However, with such concepts gaining more traction, it’s certainly just a matter of time until the navigation experience gets a major overhaul. And Google Maps is likely to be at the core of this revolution.
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 Download: Dynamic augmented reality overlay display (PDF)

About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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