Sunday, January 08, 2012

Microsoft's US Patent No. 8,090,532: Pedestrian route production

The abstract of "Pedestrian route production" gives one the basic idea:

As a pedestrian travels, various difficulties can be encountered, such as traveling through an unsafe neighborhood or being in an open area that is subject to harsh temperatures. A route can be developed for a person taking into account factors that specifically affect a pedestrian. Moreover, the route can alter as a situation of a user changes; for instance, if a user wants to add a stop along a route.

The first claim

Computer storage media having embodied thereon computer-useable instructions that, when executed, implement a system, the system comprising:

a search component that locates at least one information source, retains pedestrian history from a plurality of pedestrians and addresses of at least one information source that has a history of providing reliable information, identifies low quality information sources that do not provide information used in route generation, and blocks information obtainment for the low quality information sources;

a gather component that obtains information related to pedestrian travel including security information, weather information, and terrain information, wherein the gather component obtains the information from the at least one located information source;

an artificial intelligence component that makes at least one inference regarding a route based on a previous pedestrian behavior; a filter component that determines, based on the at least one inference, the information that is likely relevant and deletes information that is commonly of little value in part through examination of previously produced routes;

an analysis component that determines an importance of the information to a user, estimates how likely the information is to change, and chooses if the user should reach a destination through a pedestrian route and/or through a conventional route;

a generation component that obtains the information from the gather component and produces a direction set for use by a pedestrian based at least part upon the obtained information; and

a resolution component that resolves a conflict between an information source with a financial interest and an information source without a financial interest and instructs the generation component to produce the direction set based upon the information source that does not have a financial interest in providing the direction set.

AND, from the specification,

A large amount of focus in route generation has focused upon vehicle route generation and little attention has been paid to pedestrian route production. Since a large number of individuals travel by vehicle, application to pedestrian travel has been ignored. However, there has been a long felt need for route generation towards individuals that do not commonly travel by vehicle--for instance, many economically challenged areas are populated with individuals that do not own motorized vehicles and generally travel by walking. In addition, unexpected results can take place through practice of the disclosed innovation. As an illustration, a pedestrian could arrive at a location faster than if she traveled in a vehicle by taking more direct paths, yet a vehicle commonly travels much faster. Due to detailed route planning, a direction set can be created that allows a user to take more diverse paths that can compensate for a general lack of speed.


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