Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number US 11673547 B2) for “dynamic element protection,” a safety feature for a vehicle.
About the patent
In the patent, Apple notes that vehicles are often navigated through environments in which various elements are located, where vehicles are navigated to avoid collisions with such elements. Elements in an environment can include static elements that do not change location within an environment, including plant life structures, etc. Elements in an environment can include dynamic elements that can change location within an environment, including vehicles, humans, animal life, etc.
In some cases, dynamic elements can pose a hazard to a vehicle, including occupants of the vehicle. For example, a dynamic element can collide with an occupied vehicle. In another example, a dynamic element can pose a hazard to individuals entering and exiting a vehicle interior.
Apples’ invention is designed to provide a vehicle that includes an door that can detect and mitigate hazards to vehicle occupants if it senses potential danger outside a vehicle. For example, if a passenger isn’t paying attention, he/she could exit the car and step in front of an ongoing vehicle.
The protection module in Apple’s patent can, in response to determining such danger can selectively restrict operation of the portal so that an occupant can’t open the door until the danger has passed.
When might we see an Apple Car?
I predict that a full self-driving Apple Car won’t roll out until 2027 or beyond. As for pricing, your average person likely won’t be able to afford the vehicle. According to Bloomberg, Apple’s consumer vehicle will start at “under US$100,000.” However, I expect that price to be barely under $100,000.
Other rumors said that Apple wanted its vehicle to come without a steering wheel or pedals, but has decided that such a plan isn’t feasible at this time. And I’ll be shocked if such an automobile is feasible by 2027.
Here’s a round-up of other rumors about the Apple Car:
° Apple currently plans to develop a vehicle that lets drivers conduct other tasks — say, watch a movie or play a game — on a freeway and be alerted with ample time to switch over to manual control if they reach city streets or encounter inclement weather.
° It will use the cloud for some AI processing.
° Apple might offer a remote command center that could assist drivers and control cars from afar during emergencies.
° Apple may also offer its own insurance program.
° Apple still hasn’t dialed in on a design for its first vehicle and the team is still working in a “pre-prototype” stage.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “Some embodiments provide a vehicle that includes a protection system configured to mitigate hazards to vehicle occupants posed by dynamic elements located within proximity of the vehicle. The vehicle can, in response to determining that a dynamic element is moving along a trajectory that intersects a sweep volume of a vehicle portal, can selectively restrict operation of the portal so that an occupant is restricted from opening the portal into a volume through which the dynamic element may pass.
“The vehicle can restrict portal operation in response to detecting external dynamic elements that are not within an occupant’s field of vision. The vehicle can communicate a limited selection of vehicle sensor data, including representations of a detected dynamic element, to a user device supporting an authorized user in response to detecting that the dynamic element is located within a certain proximity of the vehicle.”