In 2014, Apple introduced CarPlay, a simple extension of your iPhone that provides seamless integration between your mobile companion and your vehicle. Of course, with the laws and regulations changing in regards to using handheld devices, it is important to see vehicle manufactures taking the next step to help their drivers have access to their device while safely driving their vehicle. This has been a slow trend over the past few years, but more and more vehicle manufactures are incorporating Bluetooth technology, which allows for you to connect your mobile device to your vehicle for phone calls and music, as well as integrating voice control to allow for drivers to control the technological functions of the vehicle via their voice.
On April 22, 2014 Patently Apple, a site that posts specifically on Apple’s latest and greatest patents, reported that Apple was granted a patent for a new addition to CarPlay that may help improve driver safety. One of the biggest concerns when driving is getting distracted by a cell phone or any other device instead of paying attention to the road. Apple’s new patent has three main components to help improve road safety. The first is a motion analyzer, which will be able to establish whether or not the device is travelling beyond a certain, predetermined speed. Secondly, it contains a scenery analyzer, which will determine if the device is in a safe location in the vehicle (i.e. anywhere other than the driver’s seat). Thirdly is the lockout mechanism, which can disable specific functions of the device.
It is great to see Apple is putting so much thought into creating safer conditions for drivers and this new patent appears to be a great way to do so. With that being said, there are some privacy concerns, mainly what is the device looking at to determine if it is in a safe location of the vehicle? Of course, this is only a patent. So it is important to keep in mind that millions of patents are approved, but never used. It is quite possible that even though Apple has received the patent for these potential safety enhancements, they may never be used. Contrary to that, we may see these in an iOS 8.0 update. We will have to wait and find out!