'Project Titan' self-driving car could be summoned and paid for on an iPhone

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in General Discussion
Apple is looking at ways to have an iPhone to unlock and pay for a 'Project Titan' self driving car, a feature that could have wider use in the taxi industry, and in self-driving systems.

A self-driving vehicle in traffic
A self-driving vehicle in traffic


The keyless entry and remote unlocking systems available today are useful, but have their limitations. Conventional systems use single-factor security, with others vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, making them less secure than they could be if improvements were made.

There is also the issue of the vehicle knowing only that a key fob is being used, but not who is using it. A stolen key fob would easily allow access to a vehicle for a thief, as current systems are simply incapable of recognizing who is present.

Apple believes it may have come up with an alternative solution, in a patent application published Thursday titled "System and method for vehicle authorization," with multiple elements potentially enhancing a vehicle's security.

The first element it focuses on is positioning, as it attempts to look for an ultra-wideband "hardware device" that can transmit and receive. Using multiple transmissions between the vehicle and the device, it could determine the position of the device, and if it is in specific regions relative to the car, can trigger events such as unlocking the nearest door while leaving the remaining doors locked.

A diagram from the patent application showing an approach vector analysis of a vehicle's local area
A diagram from the patent application showing an approach vector analysis of a vehicle's local area


A second key element is the use of biometric security, by performing some sort of authentication at the remote device end to confirm a person's identity. This would feasibly allow only authorized users access to the full range of a vehicle's capabilities, but may still allow elements such as gaining entry but blocking the ability to drive for specific nominated people.

Interestingly, many of the claims mentioning biometrics are made in relation to payments.

In theory, this could be used by a car hire firm to allow customers to access a vehicle, paying using their mobile device which could also be used as their key. Such a concept could easily allow for customers to hire cars from a lot, without needing to book or deal with counter staff beforehand, speeding up the overall transaction.

There is also mention of how a vehicle "autonomously travels to a location" sent via a secondary communication as part of the process. While this could refer to a vehicle driving itself to the user's position for kerbside pickup, it could also point to a potential use for ride-hailing services using self-driving vehicles.

A process for authentication using biometric security
A process for authentication using biometric security


As always, Apple files a number of patent applications on a weekly basis, and while they do indicate areas of Apple's interest, it does not necessarily mean the described concepts will make their way into future consumer products or services.

This is not Apple's first crack at the idea of refined keyless entry. One patent application from August described a similar system of using an iPhone-like device as a keyfob, but differed in not mentioning payments and dictated the use of RF-based hardware, instead of specifying ultra-wideband communications.

Apple is also a member of the Car Connectivity Consortium, which produced a "Digital Key" standard in June that proposed the use of an NFC-enabled smartphone to act as a car key.

The company's "Project Titan," developing self-driving vehicle systems, could also be a potential target for the patent application. In 2017, it was reported the project's long-term goal was likely to use the technology in the ridehailing market, which would effectively allow self-driving vehicles to operate as taxis without needing a dedicated driver, a prospect that could result in cheaper fares for consumers and increased profits to operators.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,929moderator
    The future is coming.  Smart things, that adjust to humans and context.  I love it,  
    charlesgresStrangeDays
  • Reply 2 of 14
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,615member
    I’m still very skeptical about the prospects of autonomous vehicles becoming widespread any time soon. I’ve been reading a lot on the subject and the biggest hurdle is acceptance by the public. Reports by Waymo show intense resistance to the concept. There have been numerous reports of road rage against self-driving vehicles because of their overly cautious programming. There have been incidents of human drivers intentionally trying to force these vehicles off the road or to cause them to crash. Much like the negative reaction to the Google Glass project the public appears to be of the same mentality when it comes to self-driving cars. While I can see these vehicles in use in industrial parks and corporate campuses (like Apple Park) as employee transportation and supply delivery agents I personally think we won’t see these vehicles on public roads en mass for the foreseeable future.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 14
    The future is coming.  Smart things, that adjust to humans and context.  I love it,  

    The future is coming for middle and upper middle-class people who live in big cities and nearby suburbs.
    canukstorm
  • Reply 4 of 14
    irelandireland Posts: 17,528member
    They need a car first.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    lkrupp said:
    I’m still very skeptical about the prospects of autonomous vehicles becoming widespread any time soon. I’ve been reading a lot on the subject and the biggest hurdle is acceptance by the public. Reports by Waymo show intense resistance to the concept. There have been numerous reports of road rage against self-driving vehicles because of their overly cautious programming. There have been incidents of human drivers intentionally trying to force these vehicles off the road or to cause them to crash. Much like the negative reaction to the Google Glass project the public appears to be of the same mentality when it comes to self-driving cars. While I can see these vehicles in use in industrial parks and corporate campuses (like Apple Park) as employee transportation and supply delivery agents I personally think we won’t see these vehicles on public roads en mass for the foreseeable future.
    Other things people have resisted: car phones, snow boards, women in the workplace, electric cars, bikinis, vaccines.

    No doubt there will be resistance and some of it with very good reason but if these cars save lives, increase convenience, and eventually get past that early threshold of being an evil novelty, they will become widespread. People on phones walk into traffic, drive off the road, fall off cliffs, annoy the pants of people around them, get divorced, but those things aren't going away too soon. Autonomous vehicles will be the same
    radarthekatStrangeDaysroundaboutnow
  • Reply 6 of 14
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,929moderator
    The future is coming.  Smart things, that adjust to humans and context.  I love it,  

    The future is coming for middle and upper middle-class people who live in big cities and nearby suburbs.
    My observation applies beyond just self-driving vehicles. 
  • Reply 7 of 14
    The future is coming.  Smart things, that adjust to humans and context.  I love it,  
    The future is coming for middle and upper middle-class people who live in big cities and nearby suburbs.
    That's fine. New things aren't for all people. When commercial air travel launched it was the same way -- for the wealthy only, and rather rudimentary. Over time it gets cheaper and more accessible, and the creature comforts improve. This is not new, it's the same with a million other things. Computing. Home automation. Home theater. Smart phones. Etc... Nothing to be upset about.
    edited February 7 AppleExposedgatorguymuthuk_vanalingamfastasleepslprescottRayz2016
  • Reply 8 of 14
    If Apple follows suit with Project Titan, the cars will be beautiful on the outside but cramped on the inside. They will cost four times as much to rent as other cars and go half as fast. Also, none of your luggage will fit unless you buy it from Apple.
    edited February 7
  • Reply 9 of 14
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,111member
    lkrupp said:
    I’m still very skeptical about the prospects of autonomous vehicles becoming widespread any time soon. I’ve been reading a lot on the subject and the biggest hurdle is acceptance by the public. Reports by Waymo show intense resistance to the concept. There have been numerous reports of road rage against self-driving vehicles because of their overly cautious programming. There have been incidents of human drivers intentionally trying to force these vehicles off the road or to cause them to crash. Much like the negative reaction to the Google Glass project the public appears to be of the same mentality when it comes to self-driving cars. While I can see these vehicles in use in industrial parks and corporate campuses (like Apple Park) as employee transportation and supply delivery agents I personally think we won’t see these vehicles on public roads en mass for the foreseeable future.
    I agree. While I think the technology is cool, there are still too many hurdles. I think the biggest one is how autonomous vehicles deal with road hazards such as pedestrians. With the movement of pedestrians being so erratic, it's a huge roadblock. Take for example, I was driving through a neighborhood and saw little kids playing near the road. One wasn't paying attention and I started slowing down just in case the little girl ran out. Sure enough she did, but I stopped well in advance. Had I not done that, I for sure would have hit the girl. She darted out so fast, even slamming on the brakes wouldn't have mattered. Situations like that pose a huge problem for autonomous vehicles. They aren't as smart as humans currently. In many situations, autonomous vehicles will perform worse than humans. Another huge issue is public acceptance. Autonomous vehicles essentially have to be perfect in the public eye before they are widely accepted.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 10 of 14
    1348513485 Posts: 14member
    lkrupp said:
    I’m still very skeptical about the prospects of autonomous vehicles becoming widespread any time soon. I’ve been reading a lot on the subject and the biggest hurdle is acceptance by the public. Reports by Waymo show intense resistance to the concept. There have been numerous reports of road rage against self-driving vehicles because of their overly cautious programming. There have been incidents of human drivers intentionally trying to force these vehicles off the road or to cause them to crash. Much like the negative reaction to the Google Glass project the public appears to be of the same mentality when it comes to self-driving cars. While I can see these vehicles in use in industrial parks and corporate campuses (like Apple Park) as employee transportation and supply delivery agents I personally think we won’t see these vehicles on public roads en mass for the foreseeable future.
    You report a lot of stupid human reactions to autonomous vehicles; the rage is their fault, not the AV's. As is direct violent intervention in pitting AVs as well. Human drivers, in general, are going to be responsible for hundreds of times the accidents and deaths per vehicle mile as AVs will ever be, even in this nascent stage of development. Of course, the real data will come out eventually and then we'll all know.

    Not that I'm certain that I would ever use autonomous mode in a vehicle, as I like to control my own driving decisions. Even if that means just pulling out and passing a driverless vehicle instead of rage, horn blasts, rolling coal and bumper taps.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    1348513485 Posts: 14member

    I agree. While I think the technology is cool, there are still too many hurdles. I think the biggest one is how autonomous vehicles deal with road hazards such as pedestrians. With the movement of pedestrians being so erratic, it's a huge roadblock. Take for example, I was driving through a neighborhood and saw little kids playing near the road. One wasn't paying attention and I started slowing down just in case the little girl ran out. Sure enough she did, but I stopped well in advance. Had I not done that, I for sure would have hit the girl. She darted out so fast, even slamming on the brakes wouldn't have mattered. Situations like that pose a huge problem for autonomous vehicles. They aren't as smart as humans currently. In many situations, autonomous vehicles will perform worse than humans. Another huge issue is public acceptance. Autonomous vehicles essentially have to be perfect in the public eye before they are widely accepted.
    Yeah, but...if autonomous vehicles cause road rage because they are so cautious, why wouldn't they be as cautious as you were in the same situation--maybe even sooner if their pedestrian detection system works as intended? Understand that we are just at the beginning of this development (regardless of what promoters say),  and within a decade or sooner the software will be much more refined.

    I've spent a bunch of time commuting on autonomous rail systems (yes, far fewer decisions to process), and the fact that it was driverless just becomes a non-issue. The public will get there as well.
    edited February 7
  • Reply 12 of 14
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,302member
    If Apple follows suit with Project Titan, the cars will be beautiful on the outside but cramped on the inside. They will cost four times as much to rent as other cars and go half as fast. Also, none of your luggage will fit unless you buy it from Apple.
    BOOOOOOOOOOOO
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 13 of 14
    13485 said:

    I agree. While I think the technology is cool, there are still too many hurdles. I think the biggest one is how autonomous vehicles deal with road hazards such as pedestrians. With the movement of pedestrians being so erratic, it's a huge roadblock. Take for example, I was driving through a neighborhood and saw little kids playing near the road. One wasn't paying attention and I started slowing down just in case the little girl ran out. Sure enough she did, but I stopped well in advance. Had I not done that, I for sure would have hit the girl. She darted out so fast, even slamming on the brakes wouldn't have mattered. Situations like that pose a huge problem for autonomous vehicles. They aren't as smart as humans currently. In many situations, autonomous vehicles will perform worse than humans. Another huge issue is public acceptance. Autonomous vehicles essentially have to be perfect in the public eye before they are widely accepted.
    Yeah, but...if autonomous vehicles cause road rage because they are so cautious, why wouldn't they be as cautious as you were in the same situation--maybe even sooner if their pedestrian detection system works as intended? Understand that we are just at the beginning of this development (regardless of what promoters say),  and within a decade or sooner the software will be much more refined.

    I've spent a bunch of time commuting on autonomous rail systems (yes, far fewer decisions to process), and the fact that it was driverless just becomes a non-issue. The public will get there as well.
    Problem is the pedestrian detection systems have already failed. I get we are just at the beginning, but the main thing I was agreeing with from the OP is that we are a lot further away from autonomous vehicles becoming reality than people think. I think it's a bit premature when people are making claims we are years away. Personally, I think we are at least 10-15 years plus from fully autonomous vehicles becoming a reality. 
    edited February 7
  • Reply 14 of 14
    lkrupp said:
    I’m still very skeptical about the prospects of autonomous vehicles becoming widespread any time soon. I’ve been reading a lot on the subject and the biggest hurdle is acceptance by the public. Reports by Waymo show intense resistance to the concept. There have been numerous reports of road rage against self-driving vehicles because of their overly cautious programming. There have been incidents of human drivers intentionally trying to force these vehicles off the road or to cause them to crash. Much like the negative reaction to the Google Glass project the public appears to be of the same mentality when it comes to self-driving cars. While I can see these vehicles in use in industrial parks and corporate campuses (like Apple Park) as employee transportation and supply delivery agents I personally think we won’t see these vehicles on public roads en mass for the foreseeable future.
    So in summary People are dicks and its still the cars fault.

    At the risk of someone posting that terrible render I do wonder if it is somewhat accurate in that Apple could build mobile meeting rooms for 4 people as autonomous vans. Use them around main campus and other buildings or nearby partners. Use the travel time for start of meeting. Continous open scenery prompts open thinking compared to closed in meeting rooms.
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