Apple Car UWBSource: USPTO

What you need to know

  • An Apple patent has revealed how an Apple Car could feature keyless entry
  • It would be powered by Bluetooth and Ultra-Wideband technology.
  • Devices could be configured to allow different person privileges, differentiating between adults and children.

An Apple patent published today has revealed how an Apple Car of the future could have keyless entry powered by Bluetooth and Ultra-Wideband technology.

The patent is titled "Mobile device for communicating and ranging with access control system for automatic functionality" and the abstract of the patent states:

Two different wireless protocols can be used for ranging between a mobile device and an access control system (e.g., a vehicle). The first wireless protocol (e.g., Bluetooth.RTM.) can be used to perform authentication of the vehicle and exchange ranging capabilities between a mobile device (e.g., a phone or watch) and the vehicle. The second wireless protocol (e.g., ultra-wideband, UWB) can use a pulse width that is less than a pulse width used by the first wireless protocol (e.g., 1 ns v. 1 .mu.s). The narrower pulse width can provide greater accuracy for distance (ranging) measurements.

The background of the patent states that "it can be inconvenient" for people to carry both their phones and their car keys, (I mean really?) and that often it can be difficult to obtain an accurate measurement of the distance between users and their vehicle. The patent basically encompasses using both Bluetooth and UWB to refine the distance measurement capabilities of a keyless entry system, no doubt based in your iPhone or Apple Watch. Your phone would be able to securely communicate with the car, authenticate your identity and then unlock the doors in a timely fashion. It could also be used to turn on lights, the engine, heater, AC or for providing information from the car to the device.

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It could also provide different access privileges, for example, if your child had an iPhone, that would only be enabled so as to unlock the back seat of the car, and not to start the engine. These can be programmed into a particular phone or into the car.

This patent is the latest in-car technology to emerge from Apple's portfolio and falls within its continued development of 'Project Titan', Apple's not-so-secret car project.

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