CarPlay, iOS devices may soon tell when you exit your car

Future implementations of Apple’s CarPlay and/or iOS devices may be able to tell when you’re driving your car and when exit your car and perform appropriate functions once it detects you’re no longer driving. Compatible with the iPhone 5 and later models, CarPlay provides a simplified way to use your iPhone interface on a car’s touch screen, giving users access to Siri voice controls, as well as Apple Maps, Apple Music, Phone, Messages, and a variety of third party apps.

Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,712,977) for “determining exit from a vehicle.” In the patent filing, Apple notes that mobile devices today can provide various functionality in response to a user request. For example, a user can request to see a navigation map or provide other user input to switch among user interfaces, or otherwise obtained desired functionality. However, users have to provide input to get the desired functionality. 

Apple says what’s needed are methods and mobile devices that can automatically perform functions, without a user providing input. One instance that automated functionality may be desired is an exit of the user from a vehicle. 

According to the invention, sensors of a mobile device — most likely an iPhone or a vehicle’s CarPlay system— can be used to determine when the user is in a vehicle is driving and when they quit driving and exit the vehicle. The mobile device can perform one or more functions in response, such as changing a user interface.

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.