Apple Patents Technology to Disable Certain Phone Functions While Driving

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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.

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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.

Top Rated Comments

69Mustang Avatar
88 months ago

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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Plutonius Avatar
88 months ago

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.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SvenSvenson Avatar
88 months ago

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?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
avanpelt Avatar
88 months ago
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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Renzatic Avatar
88 months ago

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

I just read a few random words from the headline, so now I think Apple has a patent to stop people from driving.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnasher729 Avatar
88 months ago

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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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