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IBM Seeks Patent On Retailer-Rigged Driving Routes 150

theodp writes "On IBM's Smarter Planet, you may drive further than need be to get to your destination. Big Blue's pending patent for Determining Travel Routes by Using Fee-Based Location Preferences calls for the likes of Walmart, Starbucks, and Best Buy pay a fee in return for having your route calculation service de-optimize driving instructions to make you do a drive-by of their stores, and an additional fee if GPS tracking of your car indicates you actually took the suboptimal route. The same IBM inventors also have a patent pending for Environmental Stewardship Based on Driving Behavior, which calls for yet another fee to be assessed when a retailer-friendly-but-suboptimal route causes your vehicle to enter a congested area and produce more pollution."
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IBM Seeks Patent On Retailer-Rigged Driving Routes

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  • Re:GPS craze (Score:4, Informative)

    by phorm ( 591458 ) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @08:34PM (#37505348) Journal

    Let's see...

    Pick up map. Look up destination. Try to find the street on the legend, correspond to a bunch of X/Y grid entries, and get there. Try to determine the best way through all the various highways, one-way streets, etc on the way. Get partway there and run into construction. End up taking a different route. Stop, and re-read map. Plot alternate route. End up discovering that street stops and starts in multiple sections and require a roundabout route to your destination. Arrive at destination, only to discover that it doesn't exist and that you should have been on 1st Ave East and not just 1st ave. (and yes, I've had this experience before).


    Turn on location services. Type in "Bob's Market" in your GPS-enabled device. Click "directions." Follow the route given and spoken aloud... which is auto-corrected whenever you are diverted or have to make an unexpected turnoff to pee.

    I don't need my GPS when going places in town, but when you're travelling 200+km to a destination you've never visited before, it's sure a nice thing to have...

    Most convenient is if you're in an unfamiliar location, and you want to find "Store X." Pop the name into maps, and a few of the most nearby locations pops up for easy navigation.

  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @08:39PM (#37505376) Homepage

    1. The head of a project takes his bunch of interns into a meeting room to brainstorm random things you could do which have any sort of tenuous tangential connection to the project.
    2. Lawyers!!!
    3. IBM pays dude a few thousand dollars bonus.
    (4. Interns are eligible for bonus if they join IBM, but seek less-dysfunctional workplaces where they don't have to use Lotus Notes.)

    Seriously, that's the reason I have my name on a patent which basically says "you could have a weight sensor on a bus, guess the number of passengers, and use that for capacity planning somehow." [] For bonus points, check out the flowchart.

  • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @08:52PM (#37505432)

    Yeah, that's called "the traveling salesman problem"

    Odd - I call it 'Itinerary' - but that's only because my TomTom labels it as such. It's not entirely automated in that I can't specify a destination and then say 'along the route to the destination, find me X, Y and Z' - but I can look at the route it's already plotted for me and find said X, Y and Z on the map and add them as waypoints.

    And if you really wanted to do a traveling salesman problem thing.. [] ..plenty of options to choose from for a limited number of destinations.

    Of course the question becomes what is more efficient.. shortest? fastest? least turns? most highways? least highways? most traffic congestion avoidance? etc.

  • Re:New Patent Laws (Score:4, Informative)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @09:10PM (#37505490) Journal

    As long as there is nothing on file, IBM no long has to invent anything. Anything they see and think "that is clever" or "I wonder if there is a patent on that?" will be quickly written up as a new patent. By reading scientific research, watching for new apps, looking at every business process, etc., IBM can find things others haven't patented.

    Pure FUD. First to file does NOT mean that prior art is ignored. Prior art will invalidate a patent now just as it did before. The rest of the world has been "first to file" for, like, forever. If someone has published it, then no-one can patent it.

  • by green1 ( 322787 ) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @10:24PM (#37505850)

    my 2 year old tomtom can handle that "waypoint along route" and it will list the target stores that are on your route, with each one listed as to how much of a detour it is, you then select the one you want.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito