Apple CarPatents

Apple granted a patent for a safety system for an Apple Car

The graphic shows shows a motion diagram for an example of an airbag system interacting with modular interior elements of an Apple Car.

Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 11590914 B1) for “safety systems for modular seating” in a vehicle.

About the patent 

The patent relates generally to safety systems and specifically to airbags and other motion-control devices configured to control motion of an occupant seated in a variety of positions within a modular seating system.

In the patent, Apple notes that a passenger vehicle can leverage interior surfaces in a vehicle cabin to serve as airbag reaction surfaces. For example, a dashboard, a dash panel, a windshield, or combinations thereof can serve as a reaction surface for an airbag that deploys from the vehicle dash panel or from a steering wheel during a vehicle event such as a collision to prohibit an occupant from impacting these (or other) structures. 

In another example, the dashboard or a dash panel can serve as a reaction surface for a knee bolster that deploys from a dash panel or a steering column into a foot well in order to reduce pelvis excursion.

Apple notes that, in modular seating systems, such as in a vehicle with modular interior elements including seat systems that can be arranged into a configuration consistent with the vehicle cabin serving as a mobile office or a living room, traditional reaction surfaces such as dashboards, dash panels, and foot wells may not be present to serve as reaction surfaces for airbags. The tech giant says that this means that new safety system designs are thus required to protect occupants during vehicle events.

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A safety system for a vehicle includes a work table, an airbag, and a controller that includes a processor. The work table is disposed in an extended position and is movable to a reaction position and a stowed position. The processor is configured to receive information indicative of a vehicle event. 

“The processor is further configured to send a command to deploy the airbag based on the information indicative of the vehicle event. When deployed, the airbag expands to abut a bottom surface of the work table and move the work table from the extended position to the reaction position such that the bottom surface of the work table in the reaction position serves as a reaction surface for the airbag.”

When might we see an Apple Car?

Apple has scaled back its “ambitious” plans for a self-driving electric car and postponed the launch date back a year to 2026, reports Bloomberg.

The article says that Apple plans to sell a consumer “Apple Car” for “under” $100,000. Other points from the article:

° 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.

° The Apple Car will have guided driving features that work on highways, but won’t be fully autonomous.

° 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 sport an Apple-designed custom processor to power AI (artificial intelligence) functionality.

° 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.

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.