iOS 7, the latest version of the operating system featured on phones and tablets from Apple, was just released. One of the features that has not received a great deal of press is the iBeacon technology. iBeacon uses Bluetooth Low Energy to create a connection to an iOS device for various purposes. Some say it could be used to send unique coupons to a customer in a store. Others see it as a way to improve indoor mapping. We believe it would make certain parts of the automobile experience better and more secure.
1. Truly Keyless Unlock
Many cars now come with an intelligent key fob. When the driver reaches the vehicle and grabs the door handle, the car unlocks. The key fob does not leave the pocket.
With iBeacon, the car could sense the driver approaching and perform the same function. However, this function would NOT require an additional key fob in the pocket. Which leads us to the next awesome possibility…
2. Truly Keyless Ignition
The vehicle could recognize the driver based on the phone in his or her pocket. That would create a secure connection to the vehicle to verify that the driver is actually the driver. Lastly, the fingerprint Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 5s could be used to verify the driver’s identity.
Step in the car, take a seat and press the Touch ID sensor. The car springs to life and the driver is ready to go! All of this could be done just as securely (perhaps even more) as today’s intelligent keys.
3. Automatic Bluetooth Pairing
Imagine that four people climb into a car with cell phones. With iBeacon, the driver could choose which phone that he or she wants to listen to music from, and everything would be done automatically. No annoying pass codes, and the driver could change at any time.
4. Effortless Changing of Vehicle Settings
Programming all the radio station presets in a modern vehicle can be a challenge. Programming destinations in the navigation system address book can be worse. With iBeacon technology, the driver could program all of this information (and more) on the computer and when he or she climbs into the vehicle, everything is preset in the car.
This would be better than a wireless data connection in the car, because the driver could go from car to car (even ones he or she doesn’t own) and the settings would transfer. It might be the solution to Ford’s customization features on the Evos concept.
5. Effortless Changing of Phone Settings
Lastly, whenever the driver enters the vehicle, the phone could automatically disable the wireless, pair the Bluetooth to the vehicle’s phone, and put the phone into Do Not Disturb mode. All of these features should make it easier for the driver to worry less about the phone and more about other things.