A future Google Maps feature will help you co-navigate with friends and family

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Many drivers use online maps like Google Maps for navigation directions but they mostly aim to serve individual drivers. Google Maps provides no way to coordinate a group travel but according to a new patent filing, this may change in the future.

Currently, if you and a group of friends are going to the same destination in different cars, you probably either follow the lead car or every car relies on individual Google Maps directions. 

A new document hints at a Google Maps feature to facilitate a group of vehicles traveling to a common destination, whether from the same starting point or different locations. The feature will identify situations in which multiple users are going to the same place, either based on explicit requests from users or based on implicit signals such as calendar entries or text messages.

If you are thinking why anyone would want to use a multi-car navigation system instead of each driver using their own Google Maps app, it’s because there are many advantages to such a system. For instance, it will keep all the participants informed about the current location of other cars, so you won’t have to bother with regular texts to ensure you are not too far ahead or not too far behind. The system may even suggest a stop for a car that’s ahead of others so that the whole group reaches the destination at roughly the same time.

The system will also provide notifications about traffic and road conditions, which will be determined by the lead vehicle, and suggest stops along the way. If a car makes a detour, all others will be notified.

The document also states that the feature will also identify potential locations at which routes can merge and drivers can wait for each other. Once the desired location is reached, the system can also help with parking.

As is the case with all patents, we don’t know if the feature will see the light of the day.


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