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US Patent Application US20120226390: History timeline display for vehicle fleet management

A system for providing history information for a plurality of vehicles, the system comprising:

a computer system comprising computer hardware programmed to implement a user interface module configured to at least:

receive telematics data corresponding to a plurality of vehicles in a vehicle fleet, the telematics data comprising location information for the vehicles over time;

generate a vehicle management user interface comprising data representing the plurality of vehicles;

output the vehicle management user interface for presentation to a user, the vehicle management user interface comprising a map depicting the plurality of vehicles for selection by the user;

receive a selection by the user of first vehicle data from the vehicle management user interface, the first vehicle data representing a first vehicle of the plurality of vehicles;

in response to receiving the selection of the first vehicle data, outputting a first vehicle history timeline comprising first vehicle status data reflecting at least a portion of the telematics data corresponding to the first vehicle;

receiving a second selection by the user of second vehicle data from the vehicle management user interface, the second vehicle data representing a second vehicle of the plurality of vehicles; and

in response to receiving the second selection of the second vehicle data, outputting a second vehicle timeline comprising second vehicle status data reflecting at least a portion of the telematics data corresponding to the second vehicle, the second vehicle timeline configured to be displayed together with the first vehicle timeline such that the first and second vehicle timelines are configured to be correlated in time, thereby enabling a visual comparison of the first and second vehicle status data

These all seem to be obvious design choices that would occur to anyone who was making software to track vehicles. For instance there is already a patent for displaying the positions of vehicles in US6339745. Isn't this just applying a timeline (obvious design choice for history) to something?

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3 Answers

I believe these could all be relevant—all written by me while at Whereonearth and Yahoo:

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What about the ramifications if this does pass?

Let's consider that using computers to display timelines has been done for ages. The only possibly "unique" aspect here is applying it to Vehicle Fleet Management.

If this patent is valid, is any other application of a timeline to a new business case also valid?

  • History Timeline Display for IT Inventory Management.
  • History Timeline Display for Snack Vendor Inventory Management.
  • History Timeline Display for ....

This patent application should fail because it's not an invention; it's the application of a visual construct (the timeline) that has been used for millennia.

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Software to do this has been around for years.

Just search for 'telematics satellite tracking software maps'.

For example: http://www.cantelematics.com/ (I'm not affiliated).

Patent was filed in Sept 2011, I worked for a company back in 2008 that used to make this very type of solution.

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It might be helpful if you provided the name of said company. –  MCSquared Sep 20 '12 at 20:18
    
Good point - company was Global Live Ltd (now Dissolved - wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/a23bfb8acce330c3672506fa9e3c19ca/…) –  James Love Sep 21 '12 at 7:38
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