The present disclosure is related generally to mobile device configuration for driving and, more particularly, to a system and method for entering and exiting a driving mode based on a plurality of factors.
The use of mobile devices has become commonplace, and for many people, having access to their mobile device during all hours of the day is important or even critical. However, there are still situations wherein the overall user experience is improved by not allowing full access to such devices. For example, many theater goers prefer that the theater take steps to limit the use of mobile phones during movie showings. Moreover, many hospitals prohibit mobile phone use on their premises or at least in certain areas. While there is still much debate over the extent to which users need mobile device access during movies or at the hospital, most people do agree that mobile phone use should be limited when the user is driving a vehicle.
Many states have adopted measures to limit mobile phone use while driving, but technical measures may also be appropriate where legal measures are not widely followed or enforced. One possible technical measure is to detect the proximity of a user's device to a user's vehicle, and to base the level of access on that proximity. For example, if a user's device is within Bluetooth range of the vehicle's wireless system, the user may be deemed to be driving the vehicle, and access to the mobile device may be limited. Similarly, the motion and location detection facilities of the device may be used to infer that the device is moving in a vehicle.
However, these types solutions, while potentially effective, would present the possibility of a significant number of false positives (e.g., determining that the user is driving when they are not) and false negatives (determining that the user is not driving when I fact they are). A false positive determination may serve to limit device access when the user is walking or sitting in their office, while a false negative may allow full device access while the user is driving.
Before moving to other portions of this description, it is noted that the present disclosure is directed to a system that may exhibit improvements over some prior systems. However, it should be appreciated that any such improvements are not limitations on the scope of the disclosed principles nor of the attached claims, except to the extent expressly noted to be critical. Additionally, the foregoing discussion of problems and potential solutions is merely a result of the inventors' thoughtful consideration, and is not presented as, nor intended to represent, prior art.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
While the appended claims set forth the features of the present techniques with particularity, these techniques, together with their objects and advantages, may be best understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of which:
FIG. 1 is a generalized schematic of an example device within which the presently disclosed innovations may be implemented;
FIG. 2 is a simplified plan view of a representative environment in which the presently disclosed techniques may be practiced;
FIG. 3 is a simplified plan view of an alternative representative environment in which the presently disclosed techniques may be practiced;
FIG. 4 is a flow chart illustrating a process of entering a driving mode in keeping with an embodiment of the disclosed principles; and
FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating a process of exiting a driving mode in keeping with an embodiment of the disclosed principles.
Turning to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements, techniques of the present disclosure are illustrated as being implemented in a suitable environment. The following description is based on embodiments of the disclosed principles and should not be taken as limiting the claims with regard to alternative embodiments that are not explicitly described herein.
In general terms, the described principles enable an improved determination as to whether a device user is driving, resulting in an improved ability to switch between a normal mode and a driving mode with fewer false positives and false negatives. In particular, instead of relying on either Bluetooth detection or motion sensor readings alone for entering the drive mode, the described sensor fusion technique selectively uses aspects of both input types to improve the drive mode determination.
In general nonlimiting terms, the disclosed principles detect Bluetooth devices correlated with driving (also referred to as highly correlated Bluetooth devices) and also detect motion attributes correlated with driving. The confidence level of each correlation is used to reduce the decision threshold associated with the other input. For example, when a node has a driving correlation higher than a particular threshold is connected to a device, a lower threshold is applied to the motion sensor input for entering drive mode and a higher threshold is applied for exiting drive mode. Similarly, when a user device is not connected to any highly correlated node, default thresholds may be used for entering and exiting the drive mode.
Turning now to a more detailed description in view of the attached figures, the schematic diagram of FIG. 1 shows an example device within which aspects of the present disclosure may be implemented. In particular, the schematic diagram 100 illustrates exemplary internal components of a mobile smart phone implementation of a small mobile device. In the illustrated example, these components include wireless transceivers 102, a processor 104, a memory 106, one or more output components 108, one or more input components 110, and one or more sensors (especially including, in an embodiment one or more accelerometers 128). The processor 104 may be any of a microprocessor, microcomputer, application-specific integrated circuit, and so on. Similarly, the memory 106 may, but need not, reside on the same integrated circuit as the processor 104.
The device can also include a component interface 112 to provide a direct connection to auxiliary components or accessories for additional or enhanced functionality, and a power supply 114, such as a battery, for providing power to the device components. All or some of the internal components may be coupled to each other, and may be in communication with one another, by way of one or more internal communication links 131, such as an internal bus.
The memory 106 can encompass one or more memory devices of any of a variety of forms, such as read-only memory, random access memory, static random access memory, dynamic random access memory, etc., and may be used by the processor 104 to store and retrieve data. The data that is stored by the memory 106 can include one or more operating systems and/or applications as well as informational data. Each operating system is implemented via executable instructions stored in a storage medium in the device that controls basic functions of the electronic device, such as interactions among the various internal components, communications with external devices via the wireless transceivers 102 and/or the component interface 112, and storage and retrieval of applications and data to and from the memory 106.
With respect to programs, sometimes also referred to as applications, each program is implemented via executable code that utilizes the operating system to provide more specific functionality, such as file system service and handling of protected and unprotected data stored in the memory 106. Many such programs govern standard or required functionality of the small touch screen device. Other applications that provide optional or specialized functionality may be provided by third party vendors or the device manufacturer.
Finally, with respect to informational data, this non-executable information can be referenced, manipulated, or written by an operating system or program for performing functions of the device. Such informational data can include, for example, data that is preprogrammed into the device during manufacture, or any of a variety of types of information that may be uploaded to, downloaded from, or otherwise accessed at servers or other devices with which the device is in communication during its ongoing operation.
The device can be programmed such that the processor 104 and memory 106 interact with the other components of the device to perform a variety of functions. The processor 104 executes programs for providing different functions and activities such as launching applications, executing data transfer functions, and toggling through various graphical user interface objects (e.g., toggling through various icons that are linked to executable applications).
In the illustrated example, the wireless transceivers 102 include both a cellular transceiver 103 and a wireless local area network (WLAN) transceiver 105, e.g., for WiFi communications. Each of the wireless transceivers 102 utilizes a wireless technology for communication, such as cellular-based communication technologies including analog communications (using AMPS), digital communications (using CDMA, TDMA, GSM, iDEN, GPRS, EDGE, etc.), and next generation communications (using UMTS, WCDMA, LTE, IEEE 802.16, etc.) or variants thereof, or peer-to-peer or ad hoc communication technologies such as HomeRF, Bluetooth and IEEE 802.11 (a, b, g or n), or other wireless communication technologies.
Exemplary operation of the wireless transceivers 102 in conjunction with other internal components of the device can take a variety of forms and can include, for example, operation in which, upon reception of wireless signals, the internal components detect communication signals and one of the transceivers 102 demodulates the communication signals to recover incoming information, such as voice and/or data, transmitted by the wireless signals. After receiving the incoming information from the one of the transceivers 102, the processor 104 formats the incoming information for the one or more output components 108. Likewise, for transmission of wireless signals, the processor 104 formats outgoing information, which can or cannot be activated by the input components 110, and conveys the outgoing information to one or more of the wireless transceivers 102 for modulation as communication signals.
The output components 108 illustrated in the example of FIG. 1 include a variety of visual, audio, and/or mechanical outputs. For example, the output components 108 can include one or more visual output components 116 such as a display screen. One or more audio output components 118 can include a speaker, alarm, and/or buzzer, and one or more mechanical output components 120 can include a vibrating mechanism for example. Similarly, the input components 110 can include one or more visual input components 122 such as an optical sensor of a camera, one or more audio input components 124 such as a microphone, and one or more mechanical input components 126 such as a touch detecting surface and a keypad.
As noted above, mobile communications devices such as those described by way of example in FIG. 1, are generally usable wherever the user may be. However, such devices as discussed herein are configured to provide a driving mode of operation wherein access to the device's capabilities may be limited and non-tactile and nonvisual modes of interaction may be enhanced. For example, while in the drive mode, the device may convey texts via an audible announcement rather than a visual representation. Similarly, tactile input may be disabled, with only verbal input being usable to provide input to the device.
An aspect of supporting a driving mode is supporting the ability to switch in and out of the driving mode accurately. The disclosed principles use a form of sensor fusion to correlate various inputs with driving to enable better decisions as to when the user is or is not driving a vehicle.
In order to understand the inputs that the device may receive, FIG. 2 is a simplified schematic showing a potential operating environment for a device implementing the disclosed principles. The illustrated example environment 200 includes the device itself 201 as well as a first Bluetooth node 202 and a second Bluetooth node 203. The second Bluetooth node 203 is affixed to or within a vehicle 204.
The device includes a drive mode determination module 205 as well as a sensor hub 206 for receiving sensor input from a plurality of driving-related sensors 207, 208, 209. The driving-related sensors 207, 208, 209 may include such things as an accelerometer, a gyroscope, GPS sensors, noise sensors, and so on. The device further includes a network communications module 210 for linking to available Bluetooth nodes.
In the illustrated figure, the device 201 is shown to be within range of both the first Bluetooth node 202 and the second Bluetooth node 203. The first Bluetooth node 202 is not correlated with driving, and may be, for example, a node in an office or home, while the second Bluetooth node 203 is within vehicle 204 and is strongly correlated with driving. While the correlation may be made in any of a number of ways, in an embodiment the correlation value for a node is based on past history of the simultaneous appearance of a connection with that node as well as indicia of driving from the sensor hub. Thus, for example, if there are indicia of driving from the sensor hub 206 a predetermined percentage of the time that a connection to that node appears, the correlation of the node with driving may be deemed to be high. The quantization of correlation may be by way of a percentage, a fraction, a raw value within a known range, etc. The process of utilizing correlation values to enter or exit the driving mode will be discussed below after a short discussion of an alternative operating environment with respect to FIG. 3.
The simplified plan view of FIG. 3 shows an example environment 300 wherein the mobile user device 301 is initially within the vehicle 304 in communication with the second Bluetooth node 303, and later exits the vehicle 304, maintaining the connection with the second Bluetooth node 303 but also acquiring a connection to the first Bluetooth node 302.
In this case, the high correlation of the device 301 with driving may be overcome by the lack of driving indicia from the sensor hub. In addition, the connection between the device 301 and the first Bluetooth node 302, which is a fixed node as opposed to a mobile node, is used in an embodiment of the disclosed principles to infer that the user associated with the device 301 is no longer driving, and that the device should exit the driving mode.
The processes underlying the described sensor fusion within the context of the illustrated device and network systems and similar devices and systems may be implemented in various different ways. However, an exemplary process 400 for drive mode determination is shown in FIG. 4.
At the outset of the illustrated process, the mobile device is not in drive mode. At stage 401, the device queries the sensor hub to determine whether to switch into drive mode based on a first drive mode threshold value T1. However, if at stage 402 a driving correlated Bluetooth system (such as an in-car system) is sensed, the drive mode threshold is changed to a second drive mode threshold value T2 at stage 403, wherein the second drive mode threshold value T2 is lower than the first drive mode threshold value T1. If instead at stage 402 such a system is not detected, then the process flows to stage 404, wherein the driving mode threshold remains at T1.
From either of stages 403 or 404, the process flows to stage 405. At this stage, collected driving-related data having a sensor-based value Tm is compared to the threshold as it is currently set after the relevant one of stages 403 and 404. Possible sensor-based values include recent acceleration and speed or a value derived from recent acceleration and speed for example. The value Tm may be as simple as a weighted or normalized combination of acceleration and speed, e.g., with higher weighting applied to the sensed speed since users can provide high acceleration but can only provide low overall speed on their own. Alternatively, the value Tm may be derived from a lesser or greater number of parameters and may be calculated in a simpler or more complex fashion.
In any case, if the value Tm is greater than the current threshold value (T1 or T2), then the process 400 flows to stage 406, wherein the device switches to drive mode. Otherwise, the process simply terminates after stage 405. It will be appreciated that the process 400 may be repeated at a desired interval or upon a predetermined trigger event or condition such that the driving mode status remains appropriate given current conditions.
In an embodiment, a delay is applied, with or without a change in threshold, to recognize the proximity of the driving-correlated Bluetooth system. For example, a delay of 10 seconds to switch into or out of the driving mode may or may not be shortened to 5 seconds depending on whether the driving-correlated Bluetooth system is or is not detected, respectively.
As noted above, in addition to determining when to enter the drive mode, the mobile device is also configured to determine when to exit the drive mode, again based on sensor fusion. An exemplary process for determining whether to exit the drive mode is shown in FIG. 5. The device is assumed to be in the drive mode at the outset of the process 500, e.g., the mobile device is in a vehicle with a user driving the vehicle.
At stage 501 of the process 500, the mobile device detects from the sensor hub that driving motion has stopped. The device then gathers data at stage 502 including (1) whether the Bluetooth connection to the vehicle Bluetooth system has dropped, and (2) whether a walking motion is detected. The status of the Bluetooth connection is used in this embodiment to reduce the wait time before exiting the drive mode in certain circumstances.
If the connection remains active but walking is detected, then the device waits for 15 seconds at stage 503. If walking continues and the connection remains active during the wait period, then the device exits the drive mode at stage 506. If instead walking is detected but the Bluetooth connection has dropped, then the device waits for a shorter time, such as 5 seconds at stage 504, and if the connection remains dropped, exits the drive mode at stage 506. If the device does not detect walking and the Bluetooth connection remains active, then the device waits a backup period such as 5 minutes, at stage 505 for driving to resume. If driving does not resume, the device exits the drive mode at stage 506. In each of stages 503-505, if the stated conditions do not continue to hold, the process 500 reverts to stage 501.
It will be appreciated that for the sake of clarity and brevity, not all cases are covered in the figure, but that other cases may be added as desired. For example, if there is no walking detected and the Bluetooth connection has dropped, then the mobile device may, for example, exit drive mode after a short delay, rather than waiting out a longer delay, when there is an active Bluetooth connection.
It will be appreciated that the processor of the mobile device executes the steps described as occurring at the mobile device. In this regard, the processor is considered to be configured to execute such steps by virtue of its access to computer-readable instructions that dictate such steps. The memory containing such instructions is a nontransitory computer-readable memory and the instructions include computer-executable instructions.
In view of the many possible embodiments to which the principles of the present discussion may be applied, it should be recognized that the embodiments described herein with respect to the drawing figures are meant to be illustrative only and should not be taken as limiting the scope of the claims. Therefore, the techniques as described herein contemplate all such embodiments as may come within the scope of the following claims and equivalents thereof.