# Is there a way to estimate whether the driver or co-driver picks up the smartphone?

First of all, as I am new in this very corner of stack exchange please help me by selecting the correct tags!

I'm interested in finding an alorithm, that estimates wether a phone is picked up from the center console by a driver or by his co-driver. For simplicity we can assume that the device is an iPhone an has all the usual sensors like gyro, accelerometer, magnetometer and - maybe most importantly, that we know the direction of travel (in the form of a three dimensional vector expressed in the coordinate system of the phones accelerometer).

Ideally the algorithm would work regardless of the initial orientation of the phone (facing up/down, ...)

My background is in theoretical mathematics - so the actual "estimating" part would not be hard for me to formulate, by I'm having problems wrapping my head around the question wether or not such a motion is even disinguishable...

Any thoughts or hints would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and all the best, Dennis

Edit: Maybe to elaborate where my thoughts are: One actually has a sense of "to the left" and "to the right" in the frame of the car due to knowing where the car is going toward. That has to be worth something, hasn't it?

• Keeping things from Dennis to spite Transistor doesn't seem 'right', to me... Jun 11 at 11:55
• There's little point to this, since calls and texts can be routed thru Bluetooth to the vehicle's infotainment control system these days. Further, your assumption that the phone is kept in the center console to begin with is flawed. And since you seem to want the phone itself to do all this, how does the phone know it's in a private vehicle as opposed to any other moving item such as a bus or train or bicycle? Jun 11 at 12:12
• Motion of accelerometers and gyros will be affected by car acceleration. If the car turns left, the phone may get tricked into thinking that it is pulled right.
– AJN
Jun 11 at 12:51
• @Carl Witthoft About the private vehicle vs bus, one could argue that the phone knows it's in a private vehicle exactly because it connects to the infotainment system. Your point about the center console assumption is really good though. Jun 11 at 13:58
• @AJN if the can has accelerometer sensors and the phone has access to that acceleration data, then it should be possible to be able to find when the phone is moving to the right or to the left, or when its facing up or down. Jun 11 at 15:20

To respond to some of the comments, anytime you are concluding a binary value based on an analog or algorithm there are some big assumptions and it wont be correct 100% of the time. I am not sure of the intended use of this binary left/right driver value, but I think we can safely say that it doesn't launch nuclear weapons and some error is permissible. With proper instruction, the operators are not just dummies and will help the program operate correctly by changing their habits or setting sensitivity thresholds in the program settings.

Assumptions:

1. Gravity
2. Car/truck is in motion for a period of time before selection is made
3. Braking acceleration is greater than acceleration of nearly all vehicles
4. Center console surface is geometry and or material is such to hold the phone stationary such that it does not shift during car operation/maneuvers.
5. Phone is placed in center console before selection is