Here’s an interesting patent that Microsoft was recently granted. The abstract reads:

imageAs 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.

It continues with some examples:

Various route production systems are available for a user traveling though utilization of a vehicle. However, a pedestrian…can have specific characteristics that are different from what is considered in vehicle route planning. For example, when a user travels as a pedestrian, she is commonly more exposed environmental elements. If it is relatively cold outside, then a pedestrian is far more likely to feel an impact then if a vehicle equipped with a heating system protected her. Moreover, it can be more dangerous for a pedestrian to enter an unsafe neighborhood then a person in a vehicle since a pedestrian is more exposed and it is more difficult for her to leave an unsafe neighborhood quickly. However, there are advantages to being a pedestrian traveler; if a pedestrian takes an incorrect action (e.g., turns down a wrong street), then correction can be easier since there are commonly fewer one-way pedestrian streets.
The system 100 can produce a direction set that is specifically tailored to pedestrian travel. A gather component 102 can obtain information related to pedestrian travel. Example information related to pedestrian travel include maps (e.g., extracted from a database), user history, weather information, crime statistics, demographic information, etc. Various processing can take place upon the obtained information, such as ranking obtained information toward relevance in pedestrian route production.

While somewhat practical, I’m curious to see it implemented, like when it tells you to leave your home and not return because the areas you live in is too crime ridden. Oh well, guess we’ll wait for the ACLU to chime in.

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