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30. Patent Application
Last April Apple revealed a patent pending application for indoor mobile location as it related to finding a vehicle in a parking structure. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals another parking related invention, except this time it's about finding your vehicle outdoors via a locked-in GPS feature. I had an incident of temporarily forgetting where I parked my car while Christmas shopping at a mega mall this year. I went out the wrong mall door and wasted 30 minutes before realizing my error. A simple app like Apple is proposing would have been great to have – even if you only use it once in a blue moon.


Apple's Patent Background


Handheld electronic devices, such as mobile phones and tablet devices, have become increasingly prevalent in today's society. In addition to placing phone calls, the electronic devices may be used to perform many functions, such as storing contact information, accessing email, accessing the internet, acting as a global positioning system (GPS) map, and so forth. Due to their multi-functionality, many users use their handheld electronic devices for many aspects of their day to day lives, including for navigational purposes while driving or travelling. As such, users may generally keep their handheld electronic devices with them during many daily activities, including driving from one place to another. Thus, users may bring their handheld electronic devices when they get into their car and take it with them when they exit the vehicle.


For a large portion of the population, driving a personal vehicle is the preferred mode of transportation. Generally, when drivers arrive at a location, the driver may park their vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, street, or other designated or undesignated locations. Oftentimes, for many reasons, drivers may have trouble remembering or finding where they parked their vehicle. For example, a parking lot may be very large, with many similar looking lanes and sections, and filled with many vehicles. In such a situation, drivers may have trouble locating their vehicles.


Apple Invents Vehicle Location System


Apple's invention generally relates to a vehicle location system, and more particularly to saving and retrieving the location of a parked vehicle on a mobile device.


Embodiments of the present disclosure relate to systems and methods for locating a parked vehicle. Specifically, a mobile device such as a cellular telephone may automatically save the location of location when it is parked and later retrieve that location and output it to a user. The present techniques allow the mobile device to automatically detect when the vehicle is parked and save the parking location.


2. Apple's Vehicle Location Patent figs. 3,4&5

In some embodiments, the mobile device may first detect that it has been brought inside the vehicle, which may indicate that the user intends to drive the vehicle somewhere. The mobile device may detect being inside the vehicle by establishing a Bluetooth connection with a Bluetooth device which is coupled to the vehicle.


Later, when the user parks and exits the vehicle, the mobile device may lose the Bluetooth connection with the vehicle's Bluetooth device. This indicates to the mobile device that the vehicle has been parked, and the mobile device saves its location of when the Bluetooth connection is lost. This location may generally be similar to the location where the vehicle was parked. Thus, the saved location may generally be the location of the parked vehicle.


3. Apple's Vehicle Location System patent figs 6 & 7

In some embodiments, the Bluetooth connection may be replaced with a USB cable or car charger, which also couples the mobile device to the vehicle. As a user may plug the mobile device into the USB cable or car charger when entering the vehicle, and unplug the mobile device from the USB cable or car charger when exiting, being unplugged from the USB cable or car charger may signal the mobile device to save the GPS location as the location of the parked vehicle.


Patent Credits


Apple credits Steven Michalske as the sole inventor of patent application 20140028477 which was originally filed in Q3 2012.


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