Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,273,756) for a “safety restraint” for a vehicle.
About the patent
Conventional seat belt designs are attached to a vehicle structure (e.g., body portion, seat frame, etc.) at two or more locations. One common design is a three-point seat belt that includes a buckle that is mounted to a vehicle structure on one side of a seat near the seat surface, and a belt assembly including a belt that is connected (e.g., by a retractor or a fixed connection) to a body pillar or seat structure near the seat occupant’s shoulder height and also mounted to a vehicle structure on an opposite side of the seat surface relative to the buckle.
This seems to be the design that Apple prefers and hopes to improve on its own vehicle. A connecting structure, typically including a metal plate, is located on the belt and is insertable into the buckle, such that a first part of the belt extends across the seat occupant’s lap and a second part of the belt extends across the seat occupant’s torso. The buckle includes a latching mechanism that secures the connecting structure within the buckle. A release button is operable to disconnect the latching mechanism from the buckle when pressed.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent with technical details: “A safety restraint for a vehicle includes a belt, a connecting structure that is connected to the belt, a buckle housing that includes a connector opening for insertion of the connecting structure, a latch assembly that is configured to retain the connecting structure in the connector opening, and a release button that is connected to the buckle housing and is configured to cause the latch assembly to release the connecting structure when the release button is operated.
“A first indicator area is located on the buckle portion adjacent to the connector opening. A second indicator area is located on the release button. A third indicator area is located on the release button and is surrounded by the second indicator area.”
When might we see an Apple Car?
On. Nov. 18, Bloomberg reported that Apple is accelerating development on its “Apple Car.” The article says the electric vehicle will be self-driving and could roll out in 2025.
What’s more, in a note to clients — as noted by AppleInsider — investment bank Wedbush says Apple is likely to announce a strategic electric vehicle partnership in 2022 to lay the groundwork for an “Apple Car” release in 2025.