An ‘Apple Car’ could have ‘night vision’ as a safety feature

Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,949,679) for “nighttime sensing” for providing “night vision” in a vehicle.

It’s for nighttime autonomous object detection and recognition. In the patent data, Apple notes that nighttime or low-light environments present challenges for automated vehicle control systems. For example, the illumination level provided by headlights on a vehicle at night may be limited by laws or regulations, which may in turn limit the effective range of a visible spectrum sensor (e.g., a camera) used for detecting objects in or near the path of the vehicle. 

Having a limited effective range (e.g., about 60 meters) for detecting and or classifying objects can reduce safety and/or reduce the speed at which the vehicle can travel safely. Apple wants to change this.

Here’s the summary of the invention: “Systems and methods for night vision combining sensor image types. Some implementations may include obtaining a long wave infrared image from a long wave infrared sensor; detecting an object in the long wave infrared image; identifying a region of interest associated with the object; adjusting a control parameter of a near infrared sensor based on data associated with the region of interest; obtaining a near infrared image captured using the adjusted control parameter of the near infrared sensor; and determining a classification of the object based on data of the near infrared image associated with the region of interest.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.