Apple Maps could soon make it easier for you to find routes and gas

Apple CarPlay interface
Improvements to CarPlay could be on the way (Image credit: Shutterstock / Hadrian)

We've seen Apple Maps improve steadily over the years, growing to become a genuine competitor to Google Maps, and a newly filed Apple patent gives us an idea of another new feature that could be introduced in the app in the near future.

As spotted by Wccftech, the patent has the title "User Interfaces for Customized Navigation Routes" and talks about altering suggested routes based on the profile of a vehicle – and how much gas (or electric charge) it has left.

The suggestion is that you might get different routes based on your type of car and taking into account any restrictions on roads along the way. If necessary, you'd also be directed to a suitable gas station or charging point on the way.

Ultimately, the aim is to make it easier and more convenient to get from point A to point B through Apple Maps, without running into difficulties, and spending as little time as possible trying to operate Apple Maps while you're driving.

Plates and privacy

Apple Maps patent diagram

Routes could be adapted to suit your vehicle (Image credit: Apple / USPTO)

One example of a vehicle profile characteristic given in the patent is its license plate. In cities where certain zones ban certain vehicles at certain times, this information would be used to find a more appropriate route.

All this comes with Apple's usual guarantees of user privacy – specifically that the data you submit about your vehicle (or that the app collects automatically) would be kept locally on the device and not transferred to Apple's servers in the cloud.

This would also need to be represented through a connected CarPlay dashboard if available, as well as on an iPhone. We know that a revamped CarPlay interface is on the way later this year, and the ideas in this patent could be included.

The usual caveats about patents apply here: they only indicate what companies are thinking about and exploring behind the scenes, and there's no guarantee that the ideas contained within them will ever see the light of day in an actual product.

You might also like

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.