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Apple Patent Aims to Stop Texting While Driving

There are already several apps out there designed to stop you from reaching for your smartphone while you’re behind the wheel, but a new Apple patent suggests the company could go the extra mile in protecting iPhone users from texting and driving. The patent, which was filed back in 2008 and approved on Tuesday, details two different ways to automatically disable texting and other apps when the smartphone’s owner is driving.

One suggestion involves using the iPhone’s sensors to detect when it’s in a moving car using its motion detectors. The phone would use its camera to tell whether it’s in the driver’s seat. If your iPhone realizes you’re the one driving it automatically disables texting and several other apps so you can keep your eyes on the road. Motorola tried something similar with the Moto X, which is also able to distinguish when it’s in a car.

The patent goes on to describe a second solution in which your iPhone and car communicate. Your phone can potentially automatically disable texting the second you start driving your car.  This second options seems a lot easier to implement, and with Apple set to roll out CarPlay it may not be too tricky to add in this one safety feature.

Apple hasn’t mentioned anything along these lines while discussing CarPlay so far, but it’s still possible we could learn about the company’s plans to fight against texting and driving later this year or in the not-too-distant future.

USPTO

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...


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