Dude, find my car

Macworld Australia Staff
29 April, 2013
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Credit: Apple/USPTO

We’ve all read stories about forgetful Mac users finding their lost gadgets or villains being brought to book by crafty Mac users tracking their stolen gear using iCloud.com or the Find My iPhone app on your iPad or iPhone. But what about when we lose something a little bit bigger?

CNET recently reported that an Apple patent application has been lodged called ‘Method for locating a vehicle’, which relates to technology that allows your mobile phone to talk to car through a Bluetooth connection to find out if it’s parked somewhere close by.

Hopefully, the garage in which the car is parked would also have its own wireless system, enabling you to ascertain the exact location of your vehicle.

In much the same way as a GPS works, the phone would then display a map, leading you to your misplaced Mitsubishi.

That’s all well and good, but we’re far more likely to lose our keys than our whole car. The good news? Your iPhone may be able to help here too.

Apple has lodged another patent application – this one entitled ‘Accessing a vehicle using portable devices’. The second patent describes technology that would allow you to unlock your car using your smartphone. Basically acting as a proxy key fob, the phone or other mobile device would use specific security and authentication information to gain access to the car.

After that, the world will be your oyster, according to CNET – You’ll be able to use your phone to start the car, turn on the radio (assuming that simply pushing that knob on the dial has become far too onerous a task), adjust the seats and turn on your headlights or open the sunroof.

Getting really fancy, pre-set preferences could see the seats or mirrors adjust themselves automatically, depending on who is in the driver’s seat and wielding the mobile. According to the application: “In some embodiments, the vehicle-related operation can include a personalisation operation, in which the vehicle automatically adjusts an environmental setting (e.g. seat position, mirror position, temperature controls, settings for an audio or audiovisual entertainment system) based on the received vehicle access credential and/or on the particular portable device from which the vehicle access credential is received.”

As we’ve always said, it’s David Hasselhoff’s world. We’re just living in it. Over to you K.I.T.T.


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