Google's impressive in-car operating system, Android Auto, can do a lot of cool things, but it can't help you find a parking space - not yet, at least.
The company has filed a patent titled "systems, methods, and computer-readable media for determining a parking route near a user's destination."
In other words, Google will find you a parking spot and tell you how to get there.
"Provided are systems, methods, and computer-readable media routing users for determining a parking route near a user's destination," the patent reads. "A request for parking near a destination and user parking criteria are obtained. A list of parking spaces based on the destination and near the user parking criteria are determined, and a parking [route] from the user's current location that traverses the list of parking spaces is also determined."
It goes on to say the system will keep directing you to new potential spots until you've parked.
And how might it find parking spots? One can speculate that Google might use the imaging and mapping technology on its self-driving cars to determine where they can park - though it's hard to imagine those cars reading and interpreting street signs too, and no one wants to pay a ticket for a car that parked itself during street sweeping time or something
It seems more plausible that Google would tap into existing systems like the ones found in large parking structures, at malls and airports and elsewhere, to determine where any empty spots are. This application is limited, but more practical.
There's no indication how, when or if Google might implement this feature in Android Auto, Google Now or another of its smart systems. But if anyone can do it, it's probably Google.
- Google's Nexus 6 is its best phone yet