January 4, 2018

404 words 2 mins read

Google Maps needs an Co-Pilot mode

Like most people during the holiday season, my fiance and I had some traveling to do. Fortunately for us all the family we were visiting was within 50 miles of home so it was all driving. While most of the drives were in areas we were familiar with I still routinely used Google Maps for navigation around the unusual traffic conditions. During one of the legs of our journey we needed to add a stop to the nearest grocery store — which spurned the idea of Google Maps Co-Pilot.

As all drivers do today, I set my phone into its car cradle and program the destination before setting out. If nothing goes awry on the journey this works great. However sometimes the destination changes or stops need to be added — that’s when the system breaks down a bit. Unfortunately there are only two basic options: #1 — I futz with my phone while its in the cradle to change the destination/etc. #2 — I turn off the navigation on my phone while my fiance gets her phone navigating to the new destination (and now I can’t see the map). Both of these options are sub-optimal for various reasons, or just illegal.

So I propose a Co-Pilot mode for Google Maps. Start off by allowing me to “share” my drives (by default) with other users. If they are in range of me (say bluetooth), I’ve got navigation running and they open Google Maps — it should ask if they want to propose changes to the current drive. The copilot can then search for grocery stores, gas, or whatever POI’s come up — then send them over to the drivers phone as a stop or a new destination. Then the only thing that would pop up on the driver’s phone would be a note that the route has been modified (perhaps with an option to cancel the addition).

It’s always vastly more complicated to add a “simple” feature than most people think but I think it’d be great to have a more street-legal way for others in the car to help with navigation duties. Frequently the times when you most need to change your route is when you have others with you. Long road trips would be so much easier to navigate if you didn’t need to fully “plan” each leg, simply allowing your co-pilot to edit on the fly… until then, I’ll keep dreaming.