Having trouble hailing an Uber or Lyft? Apple wants to help. It’s filed for a patent (number 20220092718) for “vehicle hailing in a mobile ecosystem.”
About the patent filing
In the patent filing, Apple says that hailing a ride-share vehicle or other third-party vehicle for hire with existing application technology can be an overly complicated process. Details that require user input into a ride-share algorithm include current location of the user, desired location for pickup, desired time for pickup, user preferences for vehicle type, etc.
In addition, the hailing process often requires additional interaction between the user and the driver, through texts or calls, as one party may not be able to easily locate the other party for the requested pickup despite a list of parameters input by both parties.
What’s more, the user of a ride-share or third-party vehicle needs to consider various factors such as when to hail the ride-share vehicle to avoid a lengthy wait at the pickup location, where to tell the driver of the ride-share vehicle to make the pickup, and how long it will take both the user and the ride-share vehicle to travel to the pickup location based, for example, on traffic conditions or other navigational roadblocks.
Apple wants you to be able to use your iPhone, and perhaps an Apple Watch, to make this process more seamless.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing with technical details: “A mobile ecosystem is disclosed that includes a vehicle with an autonomous control system configured to obtain vehicle information including a vehicle location of the vehicle and obtain user information including a user location of a user device.
“Based on a cost function that estimates a value of a confidence level above a confidence threshold using the user information, the autonomous control system can determine that a user of the user device is ready for a pickup by the vehicle, identify a pickup location for the vehicle based on the user information and the vehicle information, and determine a trajectory from the vehicle location to the pickup location. The vehicle includes a propulsion system configured to cause motion of the vehicle from the vehicle location toward the pickup location according to the trajectory.”