Navigation systems have become ubiquitous in vehicles ranging from $100,000 luxury cars to $16,000 compacts. The auto industry has been grappling with the best way to safely navigation, with some companies going to touchscreen units, while others opting for a joystick solution like BMW's iDrive. Either way, you're still taking your eye off the road, making nav use a potentially dangerous endeavor.

Apple may have other plans, however, as Cupertino has filed a patent for a safer touchscreen system. According to the filing, Apple's ideas include voice-activated directions; a detachable, iPhone-like device that can also be used as a still or video camera; and navigation that can only be accessed by the front seat passenger when the vehicle is moving.

The 11-page document also includes mention of wireless communication subsystems, such as 802.11b/g, Bluetooth, CDMA, GSM and EDGE. The wireless communications would enable the nav system to sync up with an iPhone to load information already stored on the latter before entering the car. The proposed Apple system sounds like SYNC on steroids, but the road from the patent office to the dashboard can be a long one. Hit the read link below for more info on Apple's extensive patent filing.

[Source: Apple Insider]