Apple has Won a Patent Relating to Calling up and Interacting with future Autonomous-Vehicle based Cabs
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to techniques for accessing or calling up an autonomous vehicle using a user device. The patent appears to be discussing the use of an iPhone for calling up a future autonomous vehicle and interacting with it for unlocking the door to controlling the environment. The patent appears to be describing a future Apple Autonomous vehicle-based cab ride.
Apple's patent notes that for autonomous vehicles used to provide transit services, interactions with passengers can be complex. For example, an autonomous vehicle may need to interact with multiple passengers associated with multiple pick-up and drop-off locations and who have different preferences for vehicle settings in the passenger cabin such as climate and lighting control. In addition, the vehicle may need to interact with one or more transit service systems to coordinate transit requests and ensure that the correct person is picked-up and dropped-off at the correct location. Techniques that facilitate these interactions improve passenger experience.
Apple's patent describes various techniques for interacting with an autonomous vehicle. These techniques enable the user device to provide a central interface for managing various aspects of using an autonomous vehicle.
For example, the user device is used by the user to initiate a transit request and cause a vehicle to be dispatched to a pick-up location. When the vehicle arrives at the pick-up location, the user device is used by the user to authenticate the vehicle and confirm that the vehicle is the dispatched vehicle for the transit request.
Additionally, the user device is used by the vehicle to authenticate that the user of user device is the same user who initiated the transit request. For example, to authenticate the vehicle and the user, the user device is placed within communication range of a communication device of the vehicle, such as a Near Field Communication (NFC) device, which causes authentication information to be automatically exchanged between the user device and the vehicle when the two are in proximity. The exchanged authentication information is used by the user device and the vehicle to authenticate the user and the dispatched vehicle. Upon successful authentication, the passenger cabin of the vehicle is unlocked to enable the user to board the vehicle.
In some examples, the user device is additionally used by the user to adjust one or more cabin settings of the vehicle or access information while on board the vehicle.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates an exemplary system supporting user-to-vehicle interactions; FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary process for accessing a vehicle; FIG. 5 is a visual representation illustrating a specific implementation of the process illustrated in FIG. 4.