Apple’s New Devices for Locating and Interacting with Cars

According to recent news, Apple is interested in discovering the possibilities afforded by the iOS mobile platform’s various wireless connectivity options. One of these options appears to be the capacity to communicate with a Bluetooth-enabled automobile.

Therefore, the new Apple inventions might be related to using an iOS device in order to find a parked car in a parking structure. Not only that, but it could have the ability to get guidance to said car, as well as to gather parking fee information. Furthermore, once near the automobile, the invention should have the capability to activate the vehicle functions like door locks, power windows, and even the engine starter.

The communications between the portable computing device, parking system and the vehicle can be based on one or more wireless connections, such as Bluetooth and/or Bluetooth LE connections.

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There appear to be more than one method of locating the vehicle. One of them refers to communicating with it via Bluetooth in order to determine whether it is in a parked state.

The device is capable of detecting a parking location before moving away from the vehicle, and when returning to the parking structure, the mobile device can access the location system in order to request current positioning data. This way, the information received is compared to the data stored on the device, and the route back to the car can be calculated.

In addition, the vehicle itself manages to communicate with the parking structure’s location system. This way, the car position is logged, and the info stored in order to be accessed later by a mobile device.

Furthermore, the system can have cameras, microphones and other sensors included, for deciding if the vehicle is in a parked state.

Besides the method for locating a vehicle, Apple applied for another car-related patent, referring to accessing a vehicle using portable devices. This device connects with the car by transmitting an activation message including a vehicle access credential to the vehicle.

The new device can be seen as a cleverer substitute for the automobile personalization systems already offered by some manufacturers, but Apple’s device appears to be offering control of the vehicle through wireless protocols like Bluetooth.

The system seems to be able to support a primary and a secondary mobile device, both utilizing authentication methods to access the vehicle. The devices act as a security point instead of a key fob.

Users can choose to cause the system to act automatically, or have greater control by requiring a PIN or password before a device unlocks and interacts with the car.

The fact that these patent applications will be used in a consumer product is far from being certain. However, there are car manufacturers who have already signed on to support Apple’s ambition.

Both of the patent applications were filed in 2011 and credit Brian J. Tucker, Emily C. Schubert, Jess L. Dorogusker, Joakim Linde, Joakim and Stephen Chick appearing as their inventors.

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