updated 03:55 pm EDT, Tue July 3, 2007
TomTom Camera GPS Patent
TomTom hopes to soon overlay GPS navigation on a real-world scene, according to a new European patent. The system described would relay a camera feed from the front of a car to a GPS unit's screen; a smart image recognition system would then recognize the roads and intersections ahead, superimposing directions on top of the video to help the driver turn based on recognizable landmarks rather than simple maps or abstracted 3D images. Onscreen data would still exist to keep tabs on the distance to the nearest turn, the road ahead, and the current speed.
Filed in December by TomTom's Dutch headquarters, the patent doesn't yet apply to any known recent or upcoming GPS from the company and provides no immediate clues as to when it may appear in a shipping product. The relatively simple design of the system, however, makes it a realistic option for future TomTom GO devices in the next few years at the latest. [via GPSBusinessNews, free registration required]