Apple is one of the most understated companies in the tech industry. But even if he rarely mentions his projects, it happens that we have an idea of the products or functionalities in the pipeline thanks to the firm’s patents or thanks to its acquisitions.
And precisely, in a recent article, our colleagues from Patently Apple indicate that they have discovered a new patent application from Apple on a technology that could block access to a vehicle when the driver has drunk too much.
More exactly, the document would describe a mechanism by which the iPhone of the driver would know if this one has a high blood alcohol level, thanks to an integrated breathalyzer or an accessory. And if the blood alcohol level exceeds the authorized threshold, the iPhone would block access to the vehicle through the Car Keys functionality.
As a reminder, Car Keys is a feature of Apple’s Wallet app. This allows you to use the iPhone instead of car keys, thanks to the NFC module.
Also according to Patently Apple, the Cupertino company would also have imagined several ways for the user to regain access to his vehicle. For example, he could prove that he is fit to drive by winning a manual dexterity challenge, or by solving mathematical calculations. Otherwise, the operating system would continue to restrict access to the vehicle.
Of course, at the moment, this is just a rumor. And moreover, the existence of these documents does not confirm that Apple will actually launch the functionality described.
Nevertheless, Apple would have already made other patent applications in order to integrate breathalyzers into the iPhone or the Apple Watch. Rumors also evoke the possibility that future Apple watches will be equipped with optical sensors capable of measuring alcohol and blood sugar levels.
In any case, if Apple launches a feature against driving while intoxicated, it will probably not impose this system on its users, but rather rely on volunteering. For example, a person can activate the feature just before entering a bar, to ensure that they cannot drive if they have had one drink too many.
Moreover, it would be easy to circumvent the restrictions that Apple could impose via Car Keys, since the user would only have to take out the real keys of his car to start it. Unless it’s an Apple car…
Apple Car: the first model will be released in 2025
Indeed, it is possible that in a few years, Apple fans will be able to buy electric and autonomous cars designed by the firm. We’ve known for years that she’s been working on this project. And despite the difficulties that Apple has faced (such as departures of engineers), this project is still relevant.
Recently, Bloomberg published an article indicating that to strengthen its future automotive branch, Apple would have recruited a former director of Ford Motors: Desi Ujkashevic.
She has worked at Ford since 1991 and her last role with the company was as global director of automotive safety engineering. Ujkashevic also reportedly oversaw interior, exterior chassis and electronics engineering at the automaker. Ford has confirmed the departure of its director, but, as usual, Apple has not commented on the subject.
In any case, this news shows that the Apple Car is still under development. And according to Bloomberg, the first model could be marketed from 2025.