TomTom has filed an eyebrow-raising patent with the European Patent Office for a device that combines GPS navigation information with a live video feed. According to the patent document, "...navigation devices display maps that are, like most maps, a highly stylised or schematic representation of the real world," which, TomTom contends, many people find difficult to translate or understand. To remedy the problem, it proposes a device that works "by superimposing or combining navigation directions over a camera image".
The patent application covers devices that receive an external camera feed, and any devices with built-in cameras, that can be mounted on the car's dashboard to provide an image through the front screen. It also suggests that such a device may obtain feeds from more than one camera, and that the camera could be designed to zoom in and out depending on the speed at which the host car is traveling. While car-mounted cameras are nothing new (as anyone with a rear-view monitor system or a Rolls-Royce Phantom will tell you), this kind of video-enabled GPS device is something that we haven't seen before. It will be interesting to see if this device (ahem) finds its way into production.