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Apple Imagines iPhone As Smart Key, Lost Car Finder

by Todd Haselton | April 25, 2013April 25, 2013 11:50 am PDT

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Apple recently applied for two patents that could enable new functions between your car and your iPhone. The patents describe two situations, one of which is using your iPhone and Bluetooth or Bluetooth LE connectivity to unlock the doors on your car. A second patent describes a scenario where your iPhone could be used to help find a car that’s lost in a parking garage.

In the smart key scenario, a user could unlock his or her car with an iOS-powered device. Apple imagines a software layer where the user would enter an authentication code that would then be transmitted to the car. A second device could also be used for the same scenario, Patently Apple explained. The car would require its own Bluetooth module as well as a controller and its own storage.

The second patent for finding a lost car in a parking garage could possibly provide maps of the parking structure as well as directions to your car. It might also simply provide directions to the car. “The guidance instructions can indicate that a user ‘walk to the third floor,’ ‘walk left for 60 feet,’ “PatentlyApple said. The entire system would require data transmissions between your iOS device, your car and a server. Apple also imagines that the system can be used for more than just cars, but other vehicles as well.

It all sounds very neat, but patents don’t always mean we’ll see the technology ever come to fruition.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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