With Apple’s automotive projects — Car Play and Siri Eyes Free — rolling out in more vehicles throughout the year, the company has been beefing up its in-car technology suite. A document discovered on Tuesday, however, shows Apple’s “iOS in the car” initiatives go back much further than iOS 7. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,706,143 for “Driver handheld computing device lock-out,” a system that intelligently determines whether a device user is driving and shuts off distracting phone functions accordingly. There are two main embodiments to Apple’s invention. The 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. In the second embodiment, 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 while in the driver’s seat.

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