Huawei Watch AH-14

Google Patents Way to Distinguish Between Driver and Passenger

October 26, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

The Huawei Watch (pictured above) is one of the latest smartwatches to run Android Wear and while the spin-off from Android we know on phones is mostly used for small apps and notifications, it seems Google has much planned for smartwatches then this. The car seems to be the next avenue of innovation and product development for the likes of Google, Apple and others and this latest patent from Google brings wearables into the equations as well. Self-driving cars are steadily becoming a thing, with Tesla’s autopilot mode, as well as Google’s self-driving cars and rumors of Apple getting involved as well.

Google have filed a patent in the US that would use a wearable piece of technology, presumably an Android-powered smartwatch, that can tell a car who is the driver and who is the passenger. It would appear that Google is looking to use this patent to make driving a little bit safer. Through how a user moves and what they’re doing, the car would be able to tell who is who, and the idea would be that certain features would be denied for the driver. For instance, the ability to use their phone while driving could be locked if the car knows that person is the driver, making it impossible for someone to text and drive, for instance.

This patent might be something of a head-scratcher, but Google is playing the long game here. If self-driving cars take off, then Google will have all the pieces in place to make the cockpit of any vehicle an entertainment suite, and where there are displays there is space to sell ads on. Imagine a car that doesn’t drive itself, yet has an in-car entertainment system – perhaps powered by Android Auto – Google would be able to direct ads to the passenger, as in this example it would know who that is. All of this is some time away, but it would certainly make sense for Google to start shoring up their patents now, especially if Apple is getting involved. Many of the patents that Apple has used in court to protect the iPhone were filed many years prior, and have caused a big problem for the likes of Samsung and Motorola over the years.

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