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Imagine using your iPhone’s Touch ID to open your car door. That’s not such a distant reality, it turns out. In a recent Bloomberg story about the scaling back of Apple’s self-driving car program is a small, easily missed quote: “Apple executives had imagined an electric car that could recognize its driver by fingerprint and autonomously navigate with the press of a button.”
Your iPhone can already replace a slew of your everyday items, like your wallet and your camera. And, with this new report, Apple was apparently hoping that they could replace your car keys, too. In fact, in May 2016, Apple was awarded a patent for controlling a car using a device such as an iPhone. The patent reads that such a device, by accessing the car’s computer, could do certain operations, such as unlock the doors, start the engine, or even turn on the vehicle’s radio, according to Fortune.
Of course, Apple isn’t the first to have come up with this idea. There are a variety of apps that already allow to you unlock a vehicle or start its engine with a smartphone, including a BMW app and a Hyundai BlueLink app available on Google Play. And, for all intents and purposes, these app makers have beaten Apple to the chase, Mashable reported.
Still, Apple probably would have found some way to make such a technology seamless and innovative. For example, the aforementioned apps don’t make use of Touch ID, so they lack the extra security element that might have been involved. Unfortunately, as of now, we’re still not quite sure what direction Apple’s self-driving car project will take. In the wake of Cupertino’s confusion about the project, it has cut hundreds of jobs related to the Apple car. Reportedly, Apple plans to decide the Apple Car project’s fate by the end of 2017, Bloomberg reported. So, until then, we’ll just have to wait and see what Cupertino has in store.