Apple’s digital car keys might be coming your way soon, patent granted
At the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last year, Apple had showcased keyless entry into a BMW 5 Series vehicle, which is going to be the first car to come with this feature. The feature supported locking and unlocking the car, as well as starting it. Now, thanks to a patent that Apple has been granted, we might be closer to what Apple showcased at WWDC 2020 than ever, The US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple’s granted patent for this keyless entry system for vehicles.
Apple has noted in the granted patent that the vehicle has a remote keyless system that transmits “vehicle remote keyless system beacons”. A key receives the beacons and responds with key codes to unlock doors and enable vehicle ignition. The digital key should be able to not just lock and unlock the car, it should also be able to start it without interfering or being interfered with by other wireless operations taking place around it.
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Also, as Patently Apple points out, the wireless power transmitter circuitry might be located in the vicinity of the vehicle, and during wireless power transfer operations “there is a risk that wireless power signals” from the circuitry might interfere with the reception of the vehicle’s keyless system beacon.
To ensure that the beacons are “satisfactorily’ received, “conditions in which there is a risk of interference are detected and corresponding interference mitigation operations are performed”. The patent also talks about interference risk detection and interference mitigation operations. The former involves “detection of vehicle remote keyless system beacons, detection of key codes transmitted by the key in response to received beacons, monitoring of vehicle location and comparisons of measured device locations to stored vehicle location information, etc”.
Interference mitigation operations are used to ensure that the vehicle remote keyless system can be used to operate the vehicle. This includes prompting a user to disable wireless power transfer operations and other operations so as to allow wireless power operations to take place simultaneously with the vehicle’s remote keyless system operations. You can check out the full patent here.