New Apple Technology Blocks users from Texting and Driving

A new technology being proposed by Apple seeks to put an end to texting and driving. This technology developed for the iPhone has the ability to automatically disable texting capabilities when it is determined that a user is driving. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,706,143 for “Driver handheld computing device lock-out.” This system intelligently determines whether a user is driving and automatically shuts down distracting phone functions.

Apple’s invention first concentrates on a lock-out mechanism that requires no input from a vehicle and instead uses on-board sensors to determine when a user is driving. Second, the car is able to transmit blocking signals to an iPhone, effectively stopping a user from receiving and sending texts or using other smartphone functions, such as email and surfing the web, while behind the wheel.

Without input from the car, the iPhone will rely on data from a motion analyzer and a scenery analyzer to trigger lock-out mechanisms. Making the system even more accurate is data from the iPhone’s GPS and accelerometer, which can determine whether a user is walking, running or driving a vehicle.

It is unclear if Apple intends to incorporate the lock-out functionality in a future iOS version, but as noted in the patent, this technology would be “a significant selling point in the eyes of concerned parents and it could lead to legislation that would require all handheld computing devices to disable texting while driving.”

Texting while driving continues to be a dangerous trend and a hot-button legislative issue. It has been reported to slow driver reaction time by 35% and increase the likelihood of a crash by 23 times for commercial drivers. This new patent could “change the culture” and help put an end to the most dangerous form of distracted driving.

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