Apple iPhone tech could halt phone use at the wheel

25 Apr, 2014 10:39am Chris Ebbs

New patent reveals software that could stop people texting and using other apps at the wheel

Apple has submitted a patent that could lock users out of their iPhones if it detects that they are driving.

The tech would prevent motorists from sending text messages or using apps while they’re behind the wheel.

The patent document claims the phone could work out if is moving by using a combination of GPS, the location of mobile masts and even the phone’s camera. It suggests that the smartphone wouldn’t need any extra software or modifications to carry out the function.

Plus, the document suggests the tech could be enhanced by a signal sent from the car, or its key, to tell the phone it’s being driven and lock the phone.

Best apps for iPhone and Android phones

Some Android mobile apps already perform a similar function, but nothing’s been done so far for Apple devices. Plus these systems are also self-regulated so the driver has to ensure themselves that it has been switched on. Instead Apple's tech would work automatically when driving is detected.

The patent was submitted back in 2008, but has only just been published. The document also claims that it is 'doubtful' that the police are able to stop people from texting and driving as it is harder to spot and can be done on the drivers lap.

Google to challenge iPhone car dominance

While making calls behind the wheel has dropped, sending and receiving messages continues to be a major problem. According to a recent survey by road charity Brake, three in 10 drivers admitted to sending or reading messages while driving. This rises to four in ten for drivers aged between 18 to 24 years old.

The charity also found the use of apps behind the wheel to be an increasing problem, with one in eight motorists admitting to using them while driving. 

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This is all well and good but if it works from movement then how will it know if you are a passanger or on a bus or a train. The idea sounds very good but cant see it working in reality or there will be alot of moaning kids in cars as there phones lock.

The system works by registering the phone with apple carplay.

Interesting idea!! How the iPhone know whether it is the driver or a passenger???

My Nokia Lumia already has a driving mode that when it is connected to my cars Bluetooth it cuts out the text messages and automatically replies with A message to the person that I am driving and can also be configured to do the same with incoming calls. I like Apple products but this is not a new idea.

What you describe is already available on Apple, Android and Windows Phone and has been for some time. That's not the same as what is being suggested here.

Uncomfortable with this as it would appear to be somewhat inflexible. I don't and never have used text while driving, but I do use Co-Pilot and it would appear that this would prevent that.
I also wish to use my phone when I'm being driven by someone else in the car. This would seem to block that.

So not something I would wish to have on my phone unless I was able to permanently disable it!