Published: October 23, 2014 | Sunnyvale, CA
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,868,254 for “Accessory control with geo-fencing” which basically turns an iPhone into an advanced car remote when paired with a CarPlay-like “accessory” device.
This patent was first filed for in June 2012 and credits Sylvain Louboutin as its inventor.
Using components provided in Apple’s latest portables, the remote control system is able to intelligently monitor and invoke certain car convenience functions based on geofences. First, a vehicle accessory capable of connecting with an iPhone, such as a CarPlay head unit, determines that a car is parked and sends a first signal in the form of a vCard or other digital format containing geographic coordinates and other location information. Bluetooth LE is mentioned as a suitable means of communication, though other methods can be employed.
Upon receiving the vCard, a user’s iPhone generates a virtual geofence around the car and monitors its own position in relation to the car’s tagged spot. By estimating its current location proximate to the car’s geofenced area, an iPhone is able to send appropriate control signals to the accessory at any given time. For example, when a user is leaving their car, a signal may be sent to lock the car doors and arm the alarm.
The patent goes on to describe a number of variations on the remote control concept, including descriptions of an accessory head unit similar to those outlined by the CarPlay specification.
Source: Apple Insider