Lyft looks to augmented reality to help drivers

It’s an increasingly common sight on pavements and roads; people standing semi-aimlessly, phone in hand, frequently checking the GPS and wondering where their taxi is. is looking to switch this up with a new system which aims to utilise augmented reality (AR) to give greater insights.

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The information, which appears in a patent filed in June but published on Thursday, is based around ‘augmented reality elements to mark specific locations within a display of real-world surroundings’, as the filing puts it.

“Based on the historical ride information, the disclosed systems are able to identify an ideal pickup location for a waiting passenger in accordance with the passenger’s location, the driver’s location, location traffic conditions, [and] location transportation restrictions,” the filing notes. “After identifying the ideal pickup location, the disclosed systems provide an AR experience to the waiting passenger by providing an AR element representing the ideal pickup location within the passenger’s view of the real world.”

The technology is aimed at working for both pickup and drop-off processes. “By providing augmented reality elements such as a pickup location marker, a drop-off location marker, a driver location marker, and/or a passenger location marker within a real-world setting, the augmented reality transportation system provides clearer information than conventional systems,” the filing added.

“A first-person, three-dimensional perspective of the real world, together with augmented reality elements to convey transportation-related information, more effectively helps passengers understand the context of the augmented reality elements within their surroundings and more clearly indicates locations within a particular setting than do pins placed, for example, on a two-dimensional map.”

This makes for an interesting case study, with maps being one of the more difficult problems to solve in terms of UX. Writing last year, the Interaction Design Foundation noted the common mistakes designers make, from asking too much out of touchscreens to toolbar positioning for easier interactions. “Maps are a real challenge for small screens on smartphones and need careful handling to provide value to users rather than detract from it,” the foundation wrote.

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