Apple patent details navigation system that maps routes based on cell phone signal

Many navigation systems have filters that allow us to plan our route using different criteria. Usually these are traffic, distance, or time. However, Apple could be working on a new type of filter that offers a route based on cellular connectivity.

A patent application filed by Apple in 2012 and awarded just this week details a system in which your phone transmits signal strength to your navigation system. The system would then factor in signal strength in its selection for the best possible route to your destination. Apple’s application also mentions a scenario where the navigation system might present a longer route purely based on its signal strength as opposed to travel time, distance or traffic.

“When selecting from among multiple different routes of vehicular travel between a specified source and destination, the system may employ an algorithm that considers wireless network signal strengths along those routes, in addition to the other factors,” Apple’s patent abstract explains. “Consequently, the system can select a longer route having better signal strength over a shorter route having worse signal strength. The system can present the selected route within a set of suggested routes, potentially along with reasons for each route’s suggestion.”

Though Apple files for patents all the time (remember all of those Apple Watch slap bracelet rumours), this one doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility in terms of execution. It’s easy to imagine Apple Maps offering “best signal” as an explanation for one of a handful of suggested routes. Certainly it’s useful if you plan to stream music on a long trip or someone in the car wants to work while they travel.