Apple patent describes likely next step in ‘Do not disturb while driving’ feature

iOS 11 satisfied one of our feature requests: a function which mutes and automatically replies to incoming messages while you’re driving. Some 781 million miles of driving data seems to support the contention that it helps to reduce distracted driving.

A new Apple patent application describes what may be the next step in the development of this feature …

The patent application, published today, describes how a similar approach could be used to mute incoming calls. It is written in the usual dense language of these things.

Systems and processes for operating a digital assistant are provided. In one example, a method includes receiving an incoming call. In response to receiving the incoming call, the method further includes obtaining one or more user-specific data items. The method further includes determining one or more user status options; and determining one or more confidence values associated with the one or more user status options. The method further includes in accordance with the determination of the one or more confidence values exceeding a predetermined threshold, providing a plurality of response options associated with declining the incoming call. The method further includes receiving a selection of a response option from the plurality of response options; and declining the call based on the selected response option.

But the core idea is that Siri could answer the call and let the caller know that you are driving.

Although many cars support hands-free calls, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the distraction of holding a phone conversation while driving still represents a significant risk. Some studies suggest it is as dangerous as drunk driving. It’s quite different from talking with a passenger in the car, who can see when you shouldn’t be distracted.

As with all Apple patents, there’s no telling whether they will ever make it into a product, but this one does seem to be a likely next step.

If you want to customize the existing automatic text settings, check out our guide on how to do so.

Via Patently Apple

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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