Patents Reveal Apple Working on Ways To Find And Start Your Car With Your iPhone

Patently Apple has discovered two car related Apple patent applications that were published by the US Patent & Trademark Office earlier today.

Smart Key

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The first patent reveals that Apple may be working on a solution that could transform your iPhone into a smart key that would allow you to get access to your vehicle, to perform operations such as unlocking the vehicle’s door, starting the engine, etc.

To clarify, a vehicle-related operation can be any operation supported by a vehicle. For example, a vehicle-related operation can be an operation to unlock a vehicle’s doors, unlock a vehicle’s storage compartment, start a vehicle’s engine, activate a vehicle’s audio or audiovisual entertainment system, activate a vehicle’s global positioning system (GPS), activate a vehicle’s dashboard console, turn on a vehicle’s passenger compartment lights, adjust a vehicle’s seats, turn on a vehicle’s headlights, open a vehicle’s sun roof, turn on a vehicle’s windshield wipers, activate a vehicle’s automatic parking system, activate a vehicle’s wireless communication system, and/or the like. 

The patent application explains how the portable device can connect to a vehicle wirelessly over Bluetooth 4.0. The portable device can receive vehicle access credentials, which can then be used to perform operations such as unlocking the vehicle’s door, starting the engine etc.

The device can also transmit the vehicle access credentials to a secondary device, which can have the same access controls as the primary device or restricted access. You can not only limit the type of car related operations, but also limit the hours of operating the vehicle using the secondary device.

Find My Car

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The second patent application reveals that Apple may be working on a “Find My Car” service, which will allow users to use their iPhone to find their cars in a parking lot.

Apple notes that in some embodiments, the iPhone can include additional modules, such as global positioning system (GPS) modules, battery modules, motion detection modules, device orientation modules, magnetometer modules, three-dimensional gyroscope modules, connector modules, audio modules, three-dimensional video processing modules, acceleration detection modules, camera modules, and/or the like. This is where Apple’s investment in WifiSLAM could come into play by allow the user to visualize their proximity to their car in the parking lot and guide them to it visually on their iPhone in real-time.

The patent explains how the system could provide users with precise guidance instructions suc as “walk to the third floor,” “walk left for 60 feet,” etc that can help in locating the car in a big car park. The guidance instructions can be generated “based on the shortest path from the start point to the end point, taking into account locations of stairs, elevators and walkways.” The iPhone can also compute guidance instructions based on preferences such as a user prefers to use stairs rather than an elevator, requires disability access etc.

As goes with every patent, these patents may not ever see the light of the day, but it interesting to see Apple engineers working on these features.

Via: Patently Apple