Apple wants to make it easier for you to find your parked car

Apple wants to make it easier for you to user your iPhone or Apple Watch to find that parked car when you forget where you left your vehicle. The tech giant has been granted a patent (number 10,121,374) for “parking event detection and location estimation.”

In the patent filing, Apple notes that a common frustration among commuters is forgetting where they parked their car. This can occur in large parking lots where the commuter may be unfamiliar with the parking layout or if the commuter is in a hurry and does not note where she parked her car. 

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The conventional solution is for the commuter to jot down her parking location on paper. This solution assumes the commuter has a pencil and paper handy and remembers to jot down her parking location. 

Even if the commuter creates such a note it is quite common for a commuter to misplace the paper. If the commuter has a mobile device, the commuter may have a parking application installed that allows the commuter to store her parking location. 

Apple says that, such parking applications, however, have to be downloaded by the commuter on a mobile device and the commuter has to remember to invoke the application and manually store her parking location before leaving her parked car. The company thinks it has a better solution.

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “In some implementations of the patent, a method comprises: determining, by a processor of a mobile device, a first activity state indicative of a possible parking event; obtaining, by the processor, a speed of the mobile device from a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) of the mobile device; obtaining, by the processor, pedometer data from a digital pedometer of the mobile device; determining, by the processor, a second activity state indicative of a possible parking event based at least in part on the GNSS speed and pedometer data; and responsive to the second activity state, estimating, by the processor, a location of the vehicle.”

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.