Apple Patents Technology to Disable Certain Phone Functions While Driving

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple today was awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider) that describes technology to partially disable a phone when the user is driving. The patent details several different lockout mechanisms that block functions like texting and SMS in order to reduce distracted driving.

    U.S. Patent No. 8,706,143 describes two main methods to block select iPhone features. The first method requires no input from the car and uses the iPhone's accelerometer and other on-board sensors to determine when a user is driving. Another method uses direct input from a car, which sends a signal to the iPhone that blocks a user from text messaging and using other mobile phone functions while behind the wheel.
    The technology would contain a provision that would allow a phone to be used in a car by the passenger. This feature uses visual input and sensor data to determine whether a person is in the driver's seat or sitting in the passenger seat of the car .

    As with all patents, this is proposed technology that may or may not make its way into a future device. Apple's in-car efforts now focus on the Siri-controlled CarPlay, which provides voice-controlled access to Maps, phone, messages and music.

    The in-car technology initially debuted as a factory-installed option in new 2014 luxury models from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo and will be available as an aftermarket add-on via Pioneer and Alpine-branded receivers. It also will debut in 2015 Sonata models from Hyundai.

    Article Link: Apple Patents Technology to Disable Certain Phone Functions While Driving
  2. avanpelt, Apr 22, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014

    macrumors 65816

    Jun 2, 2010
    Not sure how the phone can determine the driver vs. the passenger in the car. Surely they've considered that.

    Edit: Should've read the article more closely. It would be interesting to see how the "sensing" technology works in the UK vs. other countries where the driver sits on the left.
  3. macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    Surprised Google/Motorola haven't already patented some of this, the Moto X can already detect when you're driving and switch to a different set of settings, read out your incoming SMS messages etc.
  4. balcis, Apr 22, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014

    macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2012
    So other in-car systems can not use this "disabling" option because Apple got a patent?

    I am an Apple Fan but this is truly stupid. To block some functions during driving is not a "patent"able thing. If you have a special method to do this; for example sensing if car is going or if there is a passenger, you patent this method of yours. But this patent is soo general.

    This is for basic security for God's sake, what was the institute thinking while patenting this to Apple?
  5. macrumors 68020


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    Yes. I see too many drivers on the road swerving around while just chatting on their mobile phone. The less distractions, the better.

    Sure it is depending upon Apple's implementation, or at least that's for the patent office to determine. I don't blame Apple for the flurry of patents they file. Jobs had said that his biggest mistake with the original Mac was to not pursue patents for the technology they developed. So now Apple applies for patents on everything.
  6. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    It does seem pretty non-specific, although I'm no expert.
  7. macrumors 68030


    Oct 6, 2008
    I hope something like this becomes mandatory. People are overconfident in both their driving and multitasking abilities. The reality is they suck at both and then they try to do them both at the same time.

    What I would like is if Apple improved its hands free stuff as well. If it detects that I am driving I shouldn't have to hold down a button to activate siri, it should just be listening for its name. Also if the phone rings it should tell me who it is. And if I get a text it should give me the option to read it or do an auto-responder telling them I am busy/driving.
  8. macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2013
    What this patent describes is methods to sense and disable functions. Try reading the patent file before getting irritated next time. :rolleyes:
  9. macrumors 65816


    May 13, 2010
    Washington, DC
    Pretty sure there is nothing interesting to see there.


    What you described in the second paragraph, isn't most of that already the way it works?
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 3, 2012
    Yep stupid and if you drive an imported car?

    If this is optional then fair enough but to not be able to turn it off would be a mistake.

    I kinda feel like changing some functions based in location and activity could be very useful but changing anything is risky as we expect functions to be there all the time. I'm not sure how I can see this becoming useful.
  11. macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2013
    If we get used to functions being disabled while driving we won't expect them to be there.

    Also, what makes you think your imported car won't work with it eventually? I mean sure, you won't have iTunes Radio... :D

    If people are going to use the phone anyways, you may as well make it as safe as possible. People can manage changing a song on an iPhone in the car about as much as with car stereos. People use it to navigate as well as they would with a standalone GPS. However, there is no reason for someone to be on Safari waiting for the weather page to load between stop lights, especially when it puts other people at risk.

    I have no reason to believe this wouldn't be optional; even as a reminder it still serves a purpose. However, it still has a long way to go in terms of polishing and standardizing.
  12. macrumors 68040


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    This is a horrible idea. We are adults and should be able to decide when we can use our phones.


    And for the record, I don't text while driving unless I'm completely stopped at a stoplight. I'm not a moron. But because there are morons out there doesn't mean my technology should be hobbled.
  13. macrumors 68030


    Mar 25, 2011
  14. macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    London, UK
    If this was announced by a government you'd all be screaming 'big brother'. But it's Apple, so it must be a good idea then.
  15. Plutonius, Apr 22, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014

    macrumors 601


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire
    Nope. Too many idiots on the road doing everything but paying attention to their driving.

    That's half the problem. Just because you are not moving atm, you are still driving the car and should not be texting. I can't tell you the number of people I have seen stopped at a light texting. The light turns green and they remain stopped at the light oblivious to the light change. When they finally decide to move (usually in response to people honking their horns), they immediately take off and often cause an accident (because they weren't aware of the conditions in the intersection). The only safe time to text is when the car is parked and the ignition is off.
  16. macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2007
    The good news is that now that Apple has this technology, every time someone is injured doing something stupid with a Apple device in the car, Apple can be sued for negligence (since they, Apple, had the technology to prevent the action that caused the injury but have not deployed it, they, Apple, can be blamed and settled with.) :) Perfect for the lawyers.

    And yes, that was sarcasm.
  17. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    You probably didn't read the patent. You just read the first paragraph of a MacRumors article and jumped to conclusions.
  18. macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    London, UK
    Fixed that for you.
  19. macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2007
    Yep, that's why Darwin's theories work.
  20. macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    I think Ive been behind you. Sitting in your car texting while the light has long since turned green. Then you get pissed and flip me off when I tap my horn to let you know you're holding up traffic.:rolleyes:

    If you have all the roads to yourself, by all means text, call, surf to your hearts content. The only person you jeopardize is zorinlynx. However, when you're on the road with other people, your 2 ton conveyance can easily become a WMD <- nice hyperbole;).

    Bolded: You may not be a moron and other may be as moronic as you think they are. You have a responsibility to yourself (we'd miss you if you died because of a text) and to others on the road. Driving should always be done defensively. You can't do that while texting. Only a moron would drive any other way.

    Before someone says sitting at a stoplight is not driving. Don't. If the engine is on and the car is not in park, you're driving. Besides, no text is that important. Ever. If you think it is. Pull over.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    London, UK
    Using a mobile whilst in the drivers seat with the engine running is illegal in a lot of countries these days anyway. Doesn't mean everyone gets caught every time obviously, but it's a simple solution to a simple problem.
  22. macrumors 601


    Mar 2, 2012
    This should be one of those features Apple wants other companies to copy.
  23. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Which country? And what does "import" mean to you? My cars are from Korea and Japan according to the company names, but they were assembled in the USA, probably out of parts mostly manufactured in China.

    I don't see why that would matter to software in an iPhone, anyway.
  24. macrumors 68000

    Jun 24, 2010
    This. But I personally don't see a need for these systems. Just use you phone when parked or use hands free technology. I added a $100 bluetooth deck in both my vehicles and it's all I need.
  25. macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2007
    Too true. They should also not have laws about shooting people - I'm an adult and it should be up to me who I shoot. For the record, I only shoot people who deserve it.

    Oh, hang on - you mean laws like this should only be for other people, right?

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