A new Apple patent related to the keyless car entry feature for a possible future Apple car has been published. It mentions the possibility of using a smartphone, smartwatch, or a smart device for user authentication to unlock a vehicle.
The patent states that many new cars come with proximity-based key fobs for keyless entry. Since people have to carry both their smartphones and key fobs in their pockets these days, it could be inconvenient. Instead, it would be easier if they can unlock the car by just using their smart device as an authentication system.
The patent talks about using two wireless protocols – Bluetooth and Ultra-Wideband – to authenticate the user for unlocking the “access control system” (most probably a vehicle). The possible solution lists Bluetooth as the first wireless protocol that could be used for authenticating a connection between the vehicle and the smart device. Ultra-Wideband is listed as the second wireless protocol and it could be used for determining the distance between the car and the smart device.
Ultra-Wideband technology isn’t new. However, Apple’s new iPhones — iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max — are the first modern smartphones to use the Ultra-Wideband technology. All three new iPhones are equipped with Apple’s U1 chip to provide enhanced spatial awareness using Ultra-Wideband technology.
It looks like Apple wants to make the most out of the Ultra-Wideband technology inside the new iPhones. Using Ultra-Wideband technology, Apple might make its smartphones compatible with its possible future car. If that turns out to be true, Apple has most probably started the groundwork for its potential future vehicle, if there is one under the pipeline.
Rumors suggest that Apple is indeed working on a super-secret car project, dubbed Project Titan. However, there hasn’t been any concrete information regarding this project so far. Even if Apple is working on a car, I am sure that it might not launch anytime soon.
While Apple mentions that it could be inconvenient for people to carry around both key fobs and smartphones, we think that the company will bundle a key fob with its car. Users can’t just depend on their phones as key fobs might come in really handy with a user doesn’t have access to their phone or in some emergency situations.