Dude, where's my Car? There's an App for that!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The days of standing in the supermarket car park, scratching your head and wondering where you left your vehicle could soon be over. Technology giants Apple have filed two patents for an app that will lead you straight to your vehicle, even if you can’t get a signal.

At the moment Google offer a similar product through its Google Now cards, however, Apple’s design is set to be revolutionary as it won’t require an internet connection or GPS. This means that drivers will be able to find their car if they’re parked in a remote area with no data connection, or in an underground car park where GPS is unavailable.

It’s speculated that the app will either connect to in-car Bluetooth to gather location data, or use the phone’s in-built accelerometer to give a rough estimation as to where the vehicle is parked. The parking app is likely to be integrated with Apple Maps, and would add a ‘pin’ to show the car’s location as well as provide directions back to the vehicle if required.

The app will be part of the Apple CarPlay offering, which allows motorists to access their iPhone's features safely whilst on the road. It’s estimated that in five years time, over 24 million new cars will have CarPlay integrated into their dashboard. Google have launched a similar product, Android Auto, prompting some car industry commentators to call the rivalry the “war for the car dashboard”.

In their current incarnation, both parking apps from Google and Apple can only return you to the space where you parked your car. If your vehicle has been stolen, they unfortunately won’t be able to help. In cases of theft, drivers would have to follow the usual procedure: contacting the police, their car insurance company, and then the DVLA if the vehicle still isn’t recovered.

That said, at the speed in-car technology is currently moving, it wouldn’t surprise us if Apple and Google do develop technology that could help with recovering stolen vehicles too.

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