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Apple Patents Technology to Disable Certain Phone Functions While Driving

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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11,862



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 lock-out mechanisms disable the ability of a handheld computing device to perform certain functions, such as texting, while one is driving. In one embodiment, a handheld computing device can provide a lock-out mechanism without requiring any modifications or additions to a vehicle by using a motion analyzer, a scenery analyzer and a lock-out mechanism. In other embodiments, the handheld computing device can provide a lock-out mechanism with modifications or additions to the vehicle, including the use of signals transmitted by the vehicle or by the vehicle key when engaged with the vehicle.
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
 

avanpelt

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,932
3,802
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.
 
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scottishwildcat

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2007
248
241
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.
 

balcis

macrumors member
Nov 20, 2012
48
19
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?
 
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jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
3,840
3,807
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.

To block some functions during driving is not a "patent"able thing

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.
 

JAT

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2001
6,473
124
Mpls, MN
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?
It does seem pretty non-specific, although I'm no expert.
 

jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,509
2,428
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.
 

Parasprite

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2013
1,698
144
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.

What this patent describes is methods to sense and disable functions. Try reading the patent file before getting irritated next time. :rolleyes:
 

Iconoclysm

macrumors 68020
May 13, 2010
2,455
1,696
Washington, DC
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.

Pretty sure there is nothing interesting to see there.

----------

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.

What you described in the second paragraph, isn't most of that already the way it works?
 

alexgowers

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2012
1,336
890
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.
 

Parasprite

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2013
1,698
144
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.

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

I'm not sure how I can see this becoming useful.

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.
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
6,280
9,633
Florida, USA
This is a horrible idea. We are adults and should be able to decide when we can use our phones.

KEEP THE NANNY-STATE BULLS**T AWAY FROM OUR TECH PLEASE.

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.
 

Plutonius

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
8,730
7,896
New Hampshire, USA
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.

Nope. Too many idiots on the road doing everything but paying attention to their driving.

And for the record, I don't text while driving unless I'm completely stopped at a stoplight. I'm not a moron.

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.
 
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nt5672

macrumors 68020
Jun 30, 2007
2,131
4,575
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.

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.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
17,395
4,623
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?

You probably didn't read the patent. You just read the first paragraph of a MacRumors article and jumped to conclusions.
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,582
14,374
In between a rock and a hard place
This is a horrible idea. We are adults and should be able to decide when we can use our phones.

KEEP THE NANNY-STATE BULLS**T AWAY FROM OUR TECH PLEASE.

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.

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.
 

declandio

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2009
451
1
London, UK
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.

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.
 

JAT

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2001
6,473
124
Mpls, MN
Yep stupid and if you drive an imported car?
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.
 

cdmoore74

macrumors 68020
Jun 24, 2010
2,413
711
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.

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.
 

SvenSvenson

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2007
197
153
This is a horrible idea. We are adults and should be able to decide when we can use our phones.

KEEP THE NANNY-STATE BULLS**T AWAY FROM OUR TECH PLEASE.

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.

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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