Business Insider Australia
Apple invention helps iPhone users find their parked car despite poor cell …
Apple’s automatic car parking and navigation patent applications were first filed for in February 2013 and credit Jason A.
This is an application concept I tried to get off the ground in New Zealand a while ago, however circumstances meant it never quite got finished to a commercial level. That aside I used my Where’s My Car application a week or two ago when I was parking in a park and area I hadn’t been to before. It worked great.
The problem is a daily one for millions of people as I found out when I did some research for a presentation to the NZ Car Parking Industry Conference a couple of years ago. I visited car parks in New Zealand, Australia and the USA; in shopping malls, urban areas, and large car park buildings which were inside and encased in concrete where in many cases each floor looked identical to the one above and below. Every time a coconut, I saw people laden with shopping, impatient kids and other people in various stages of frustrated bewilderment, looking for where they parked their damn car.
Just go to any large parking area and see it for yourself. There were a pile of features I wanted, like the ability to know if I parked at a meter, or a limited time park, how long I had before I got a ticket, but that’s another story.
My Where’s My Car app that I bought in the USA was great going to concerts in giant venues, especially when I was in a rental vehicle that I didn’t know well, and looked like so many others around it. I told my wife we should have gotten the Jeep, anyway that’s another story.
The problem is that when you are inside the concrete jungle carpark, the GPS and sometimes even the phone signal don’t penetrate and GPS or assisted GPS are the primary ways to pinpoint your location. A good app will pinpoint your exact location and to remove any doubt, will also allow you to write down details such as the floor and park number and even a photo (which could include the rego of the vehicle next to you, in case they leave any scratches on your car.
So the point of this patent which Apple think will give them some exclusivity, is the relationship with the car. If they have a device of some sort in the car, probably something like passive RFID, then when you get close enough, the car can tell your phone where it is. Meanwhile when (it determines) you park your car, the application starts monitoring the inertia censors and 6-point electronic compass as you leave the vehicle, in order to bread crumb your movement until you get to a point where the GPS can get your signal again.
I don’t see how Apple will get a strong patent to monopolize this technology except that they are working with car manufacturers, so they can have exclusive relationships with certain brands. This means that locating your car if you own one of the those brands, will be easier if you have an iPhone. I would expect Google Samsung to be having similar discussions with Asian car manufacturers for Android phones.
Anyway, the crux of it is that if you have the right combination of mobile and car, you will be able to locate where you parked it, even if its underground or in a concrete tower. That will save millions of people a lot of grief in the coming years. Don’t worry, if you don’t have the right combination of car and mobile, there will be perfectly good aftermarket solutions available in your favorite electronics or car accessory store and online.
If they are smart, car insurance companies will include this functionality in their PAYD or safe driving app; and perhaps the odd smart airline will do the same for frequent flyers, including this functionality into their check in apps.
In the meantime, your mobile’s app store already has many free and paid versions of find my car apps that work perfectly well as long as the mobile has access to GPS.