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After introducing the iPhone 3G-S – a New Patent Points to what's next


On June 18, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's iPhone navigation systems and services.   Implementations of the invention can realize one or more of the following advantages. The driver of a vehicle can be provided real-time information related to the operational state of the vehicle (e.g., the level of fuel in the vehicle). In some implementations, the driver is automatically provided advance warning of a refueling location and information about where the vehicle can conveniently be refueled. In other implementations, the driver is provided notification of a vehicle maintenance issue and given immediate information about conveniently located vehicle repair stations. These features can reduce driver distraction, reduce the risk of the vehicle running out of fuel and thereby improve road safety for the driver. The system also introduces the concept of filtering the information streamed to you. For instance, you may drive a Mercedes-Benz or other high end vehicle and so for repairs on the road, the system will only point out service stations for that model. The filter also allows users to choose their favorite gas stations, a required fuel type or even the types of restaurants you want to eat at while filling up. On the road, and only on the road, I look for Denny's Restaurants - and so having them pointed out to me on this navigational system would help me plan a better trip.  And lastly, the patent indirectly points to the navigational system being able to pick up television signals.

An iPhone with Fuel Module



After Introducing the iPhone 3G-S – a New Patent Points to What's Next


 In Apple's patent FIG. 1C we see the iPhone is configured to an in-vehicle computing system. This will be done by  tethering, docking or simply by wireless means. It is here where we're introduced to a new iPhone "fuel module" noted in the patent figure as feature 106. Apple notes that in some cases the iPhone will use the fuel module included with the vehicle's computer system and even states broadly that the iPhone could actually be the both the navigation and vehicle computing system. At present it's unknown whether or not the fuel module is already dormant in the current iPhone 3G-S.  


 Mapping Restaurants, Gas Stations & Repair Shops


After Introducing the iPhone 3G-S – a New Patent Points to What's Next, Patent 20090157289, patent fig 4


Apple credits Joshua V. Graessley (Sunnyvale, CA) as the sole inventor of this patent application. 


To see the latest 3G-S iPhone Navigational services just introduced at this month's Apple developer conference - see Maps + Compass or just take a peek at a compressed list of the many services below.



NOTICE: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or grant is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or grant should be read in its entirety for further details. Feed patent number 20090157289 into this search engine for further details.



Also see these related 2009 patent reports:

A Future iPhone Could Advance Sophisticated In-Vehicle Navigation System Functionality

Apple Intros In-Vehicle Cryptographically Paired Technology





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