Apple patent disables wearables when you are driving

Apple’s About To Make Roads Safer

How many of us are scared to send our children out to play because of the fear of accidents? A lot, right?

Well, it stands to good reason. The increase in death statistics owes its majority to car accidents.

Distracted drivers have quick become the bane of the roads. Texting or being on a call while driving have become the two primary reasons for loss of lives – untimely and tragic ends.

Yet, no amount of persuasion, seems to convince some people to let go of this fatal habit.

Now what happens when people don’t willingly let go of bad habits? Some external force usually has to intervene, and in this case, Apple is this becoming the first form of external force that could potentially stop people from using their gadgets while driving.

Apple, per recent news, was granted a patent for “Detecting Controllers in Vehicles Using Wearable Devices”.
Restating in plain English, this patent implies that Apple will use the in-built motion detection features in a device, say an Apple Watch, to determine whether the person is driving the vehicle or not, and if so, the wearable will then automatically regulate the amount of notifications that the driver receives.

The motion sensors gather and feed the information into an associated system, who in turn, figures out the angular velocity of the device. That done, the system establishes if the velocity of the wearer is below the programatically-mandated minimum threshold or not.

If the velocity is below the threshold then the incoming flow of notifications is not affected, but if the velocity level is above the threshold, then the system does a double take – it approximates the direction of gravity of the reporting wearable, as well as the gravity from another device present in the vehicle (which could well be an iPhone, or perhaps another phone). All said, the system then automatically interdicts notifications sent to the wearable as well as the phone.

This new patent can have a positive effect on the drivers who get distracted while driving because of the constant need to keep checking their phones to see if any new notifications have arrived or not.

This is a revolutionary step towards making driving safe along with that it is also a big step  towards protecting and safeguarding the other commuters on the road.

This shows that perhaps we are a step closer towards making our travels safe.

There are two itsy-bitsy downers though – one, we don’t know when this would come to be – since we only know of it as a patent at this stage and can’t estimate the progress that Apple’s actually made in turning this into a real-world product/feature. Also, we aren’t sure if this feature would come to existing Apple products or forthcoming ones.

Second, this feature seems restricted to only Apple devices, we’d don’t yet know how much of cross-platform integration Apple would allow for something it’s patented.

That said, several people have come out in favour of this patent and a lot of us are now eager to see how well they’d put up with the newfound-old solace of driving in silence and (largely) at peace.


Also published on Medium.