Samsung Turns to High-Tech Sorcery to Let Phones Find Your Car in a Parking Lot

Samsung's AR viewfinder 1 photo
Photo: Samsung via The Verge
Finding a car in a crowded parking lot is often a nightmare, despite apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps helping us with this by marking the vehicle's location on the map.
And yet, this doesn’t necessarily work as straightforward as it’s supposed to, especially in underground parking, so it’s obvious such an approach has its own shortcomings.

Well, South Korean phone giant Samsung thinks it can solve this problem with a new augmented reality viewfinder that helps us find our cars in crowded parking lots using nothing else than a mobile phone. A Samsung, of course, though you shouldn’t be too surprised if the same feature soon lands on other Android devices as well.

The whole thing is powered by UWB, the same technology Samsung has turned to in order to transform the Galaxy S21 (and later any Android device) into a car key.

The user would only have to unlock the phone, start the camera, and scan the surroundings, with the device then showing the location of the car using augmented reality and providing instructions on how to reach it, along with the distance to it - pretty much like a navigation app supposed to help you find the car much easier.

But given it’s based on UWB, the new system would require UWB-powered phones and cars, so not everybody would be able to use it. Or at least, not at first, with a Samsung slideshow presented during the January 14 Unpacked event indicating the feature would be supported on the Galaxy S21 Plus, Galaxy S21 Ultra, and Note 20 Ultra. Interestingly, the base Galaxy S21 may not come with this feature.

Samsung hasn’t shared too many specifics as to when this new feature is supposed to go live, but more information will probably be provided after the Galaxy S21 starts shipping on January 29.
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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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