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Apple wants to go beyond the process of finding your lost iPhone using Find My: it wants a system that will specifically point out where exactly your device lies… inside your car.

In a patent titled “Systems and Methods for Locating Mobile Devices Within a Vehicle,” the Cupertino giant details the systems and methods it proposes to use in order to locate an Apple device within a vehicle using sensors and signal generators. As it explains, the said materials will communicate with each other, allowing an onboard computer in the vehicle to determine the location and orientation of the lost device. The patent details:

A method includes receiving, by sensors inside an enclosure of a vehicle, signals generated by signal generators in the enclosure of the vehicle. One of the sensors or signal generators may be part of a mobile device inside the enclosure. The method also includes determining a location and orientation of the mobile device from the signals. The method further includes determining, based on the location and orientation of the mobile device, an object in the enclosure that the mobile device is pointing to. The mobile device further includes transmitting a message to the mobile device in response to determining that the mobile device is pointing to the object, so as to cause the mobile device to display a user interface to allow the mobile device to control the object.

As the document adds, the methods can resolve users’ issues in the “cumbersome” ways of manually finding their lost devices. This should also improve the power of Apple’s Find My feature, with the patent showing a device location system in a mobile device. According to the illustrations, it should work by allowing two devices to interact, with one having a user interface detailing the lost device’s location.

Apple patent illustration for "Systems and Methods for Locating Mobile Devices Within a Vehicle"

The whole idea goes beyond that, as Apple seems to be planning to use the patent to also create a system that will allow users to control vehicle switches, buttons, and other elements. In an example, the document shares how it could be used by a user to control any window on the sides of the vehicle via the said methods.

While the entire idea of the system sounds promising, patents don’t always guarantee a concept’s realization, unfortunately. On the positive side, the details shed light on what Apple is planning for the future. And we’re not only talking about possible features for iPhones or a new system but something more… maybe, even an Apple Car.

What do you think of this patent from Apple? Let us know in the comment section!


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