Microsoft Patents GPS App to Avoid 'Unsafe Neighborhoods'

Microsoft has recently patented a GPS application that helps travelers to avoid routes that would lead them into “unsafe neighborhoods.”

Critics of the app are deeming it the “avoid ghetto” app, yet the word ghetto itself is not found in the company’s patent. This avoid ghetto name seems to have caught on and infected and tainted the coverage of “pedestrian route production.”

Its true intent is to help pedestrians to avoid unsafe neighborhoods or being in an open area that is subject to harsh temperatures. An alternate route can be developed for a person taking into account factors that specifically affect a pedestrian. The app is user sensitive.

An example of the app in use would be when a user travels as a pedestrian and they will be informed of places with harsh temperatures. The same goes for unsafe neighborhoods. The GPS will help them to avoid them when on foot. However, if traveling in a vehicle, the warning will not be as severe since a heating system can help a user through cold temperatures and a car provides protection from outsiders in unsafe neighborhoods.

Based upon these examples, the “avoid ghetto” name was born since it advises users against walking through what some would feel are unsafe neighborhoods.

The assumption that an app can dictate which neighborhoods are safe and unsafe could lead some to assume that it was categorizing the particular race living within a particular community. However, it could also be based on places with a high amount of documented crimes.

The apps main purpose is to help pedestrians to avoid running into trouble whether with others or with the elements. There are plenty of GPS systems created for drivers, but really nothing when it comes to those who primarily travel on foot. This “avoid ghetto” app would be one of the first.