Apple patents car-unlocking idea – has it been reading TechDigest?

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Could we soon be unlocking our cars with our phones? A new patent that Apple has sent to the US Patent Office suggests that it is working on tech that will let users simply walk up to their car and have it unlock as if by magic.

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The patent was spotted by BGR, which also reports that “geofencing” (ie: detecting if you’re within a certain range of your car) could be used to not only unlock the car, but also potentially start it up and have it defrosted by the time you get to it. Here’s Apple’s description:

“A vehicle accessory can transmit a first signal to a mobile device, the first signal including a location of a vehicle. The mobile device can monitor its own location. The mobile device can assess whether one or more location-based criteria have been satisfied based on the location of the mobile device and the location of the vehicle. Upon determining that a location-based criterion has been satisfied, the mobile device can transmit a second signal to the vehicle accessory indicating that a function of the vehicle is to be controlled. Thus, for example, the mobile device can activate or de-activate vehicle features (e.g., door locking, vehicle defrosting, etc.) in a manner that capitalizes on efficient signal transmission.”

What’s weird about this is just yesterday we were saying how Apple will need to do something about car keys, if it really wants to eliminate everything we have to carry around.

James O’Malley