At last year's WWDC 2020 Apple introduced Keyless entry into a BMW 5 Series vehicle, the first car to have this feature. The feature is designed to unlock/lock a vehicle as well as start a vehicle. Below is a video segment from Apple's WWDC 2020.
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's granted patent for this keyless entry system for vehicles and beyond.
Apple notes in their granted patent that a vehicle has a remote keyless system that transmits vehicle remote keyless system beacons. A key receives the beacons and responds with key codes to unlock doors and enable a vehicle ignition in the vehicle. The wireless power transmitter circuitry may be located in the vicinity of the vehicle. During wireless power transfer operations, there is a risk that wireless power signals from the wireless power transmitter circuitry could interfere with the reception of the vehicle keyless system beacons by the key.
To ensure that beacons are satisfactorily received, conditions in which there is a risk of interference are detected and corresponding interference mitigation operations are performed.
Interference risk detection involves detection of vehicle remote keyless system beacons, detection of key codes transmitted by the key in response to received beacons, monitoring of vehicle location and comparisons of measured device locations to stored vehicle location information, monitoring of whether the electronic device has paired wirelessly with the vehicle, using an inertial measurement unit or other input-output device to determine whether the electronic device is experiencing motion representative of vehicular travel, and/or other operations to determine when a risk of interference is present.
Interference mitigation operations are used to ensure that the vehicle remote keyless system can be used to operate the vehicle. Interference mitigation operations include prompting a user to disable wireless power transfer operations or automatically inhibiting wireless power transfer operations, adjusting the waveform of transmitted wireless power signals, adjusting the frequency of transmitted wireless power signals (e.g., to a frequency that is at least not the same as the wireless beacon frequency), and other operations that allow the key to receive transmitted beacons and that may allow wireless power operations to take place simultaneously with vehicle remote keyless system operations.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a schematic diagram of a wireless key system such as vehicle remote keyless system. Vehicle systems (#32) include door locks, ignition systems, and other devices that are controlled by processing circuitry (#26). For example, the key system (#28) may open door locks and enable a vehicle ignition in response to receiving key codes from the key (#44); FIG. 3 is a diagram of an illustrative system 8 that contains a vehicle remote keyless system and wireless power circuitry. System 8 of FIG. 3 includes vehicle 10A, key 10B, electronic device 10C, and electronic device 10D.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 below is a flow chart of illustrative operations involved in operating a system of the type shown in FIG. 3.
To dig deeper into the details of Apple's granted patent 11,056,928 titled "Wireless Charging Interference Mitigation," click here.