Apple Envisions a Navigation App Providing Directions to Your Parked Car

Remember the moments when you couldn’t find your car at the supermarket? While 2020 has been a crazy year so far and we’re no longer driving as much as we did many months ago, figuring out where our vehicles are in a huge parking lot continues to be quite a challenge sometimes.
The system would communicate wirelessly with the phone 9 photos
Photo: USPTO
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But all this struggle could soon become a thing of the past if a recent Apple invention enters the mass production stage.

A patent describing a technology called “method for locating a vehicle” details an Apple innovation that’s supposed to help drivers locate their cars and then be provided with step-by-step instructions to find it.

In other words, it’s more of a navigation app that always guides you to the car, and as many of us learned the hard way, this could come in really handy.

Apple’s system relies on a wireless connection between the iPhone and a navigation controller installed in the car. In theory, the whole thing could be powered by a central server that receives data from the car and then transmits it to the smartphone, so you should be able to use this technology even if you’re miles away from the vehicle.

But on the other hand, the system could also use Bluetooth, which means you must be in close proximity to the car. Bluetooth typically works up to some 25 meters if no walls or buildings are blocking the signal, and such a connection would allow the car and the smartphone to communicate directly for location data and navigation instructions.

The abstract section of the patent provides a closer look at how the technology is supposed to work:

A portable computing device can be used to locate a vehicle in a parking structure. In particular, the portable computing device can communicate with a parking system that manages the parking structure and/or with a vehicle in order to locate the vehicle. Communications between the portable computing device, parking system and vehicle can be based on one or more wireless connections, such as Bluetooth and/or Bluetooth LE connections.

As with any other patent, such a document is by no means the confirmation a certain technology is ready to enter mass production, but at least, it’s a good thing that more companies are now exploring ideas that would make our lives easier.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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