Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number US 11820310 B1) for “Panel Intrusion Control” that involves a safety feature for a vehicle.
About the patent relates generally to panels windshields for vehicles and specifically to resisting entry of objects through such panels. During a vehicular crash, portions of a vehicle will deform upon impact with other objects.
However, Apple says that a vehicle can be configured to reduce or eliminate entry of structures, such as exterior body components, into a passenger cabin of the vehicle. As an example, crush zones may be designed to allow longitudinal crushing along the hood or fenders of the vehicle in a manner that reduces the likelihood that components will intrude into the passenger cabin.
In many jurisdictions, vehicle safety regulations require that no exterior parts of a vehicle intrude into the passenger cabin during a crash. Apple says that crash testing, such as a frontal impact with a fixed structure, may be performed to confirm compliance with these regulations.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “An apparatus for resisting entry of objects through a panel. The apparatus includes a weakened portion that extends laterally across a width dimension of the panel. The apparatus includes a stop structure spaced from the weakened portion that extends laterally across the width dimension of the panel to limit deformation. A bottom edge of the panel is configured to rotate about an axis extending along the weakened portion to abut the stop structure.”
When might we see an Apple Car?
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple’s work on the Apple Car has “lost all visibility at the current time. He adds that if Apple does not adopt some kind of acquisition strategy to make inroads in the automotive market, it is unlikely that the Apple Car will be able to go into mass production “within the next years.”
On. Nov. 18, 2021, Bloomberg reported that Apple was accelerating development on its “Apple Car.” The article said that 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 said Apple is likely to announce a strategic electric vehicle partnership in 2022 to lay the groundwork for an “Apple Car” release in 2025.
If Kuo is correct — and I suspect he is — those predictions are way too optimistic.