Apple's IronHeart Project covering the control of in-vehicle settings with CarPlay or an iPhone isn't new but rather evolved
As far back as 2013, or eight years ago, Patently Apple covered an Apple patent that was titled "Automatic Configuration of Self-Configurable Environments." Apple's invention generally related to in-vehicle self-configurable environments and more specifically to techniques and systems for storing configuration details in an iDevice like the iPhone.
Apple's futuristic system was designed so as to allow a future iPhone user to control their in-vehicle settings for power seats, mirrors, climate control, radio and more. Once set, the iPhone will be able to control settings even for a rented car.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of a passenger compartment of an automobile. As illustrated, the passenger compartment includes an adjustable steering wheel and adjustable seat. By way of non-limiting example, the seat is adjustable up and down, backward and forward, and increasing and decreasing an angle of recline. The steering wheel is adjustable to move closer to and farther from a driver. While not shown, other aspects of the passenger experience can also be adjustable, such as mirrors, lumbar support, air conditioning temperature, radio preferences, etc.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 below illustrates distances and angles that can be measured to represent the physical configuration of a passenger compartment of an exemplary configurable environment; FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary rear view of an exemplary configurable vehicle environment.
In some embodiments, the location of a driver's head can be approximated (or learned) and an angle of adjustment can be calculated based on the known mirror locations, the location of the driver's head, and a predetermined target vantage point.
Knowing that this project was around for eight years, it isn't much of a surprise to read Bloomberg's report on such a project. The project allegedly now has a code name assigned to it: IronHeart.
Apple's patent listed other features an iPhone would one day be able to control in the car such as "lumbar support, air conditioning temperature, radio preferences," with some repeated in the Bloomberg report.
Of course being eight-years later, some of the features mentioned by Bloomberg cover a few new things like controlling "surround-sound speakers, defroster tachometer and humidity readings."
The context of Apple's patent was controlling a vehicle settings (as well as home settings) using an iPhone, whereas the Bloomberg report adds "CarPlay" which was introduced a year after the patent was published. You could read our 2013 patent report here and Bloomberg's report here.
At the end of the day, Apple's IronHeart project isn't new, it has simply evolved. Considering that Apple added Car Keys last year, we can expect more features for vehicles are on their way.