Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 11498561) for a “vehicle deceleration system.”
About the patent
In the patent Apple notes that a human-operated vehicle is subject to conditions consequential to the human operator’s limited ability to comprehend conditions external to the vehicle, comprehend capabilities of the vehicle within such conditions, and control the vehicle according to the external conditions and the vehicle capabilities. This means that human-operated vehicles are subject to extreme usage scenarios due to the human operator’s imprecise control (e.g., hard braking, delayed responses, etc.) and, consequentially, include a limited number of human-operated inputs and are engineered to account for the extreme usage scenarios.
For example, the human-operated vehicle is typically limited to three primary control inputs, which include an acceleration input (e.g., accelerator pedal for controlling output of a propulsion system of the vehicle and, thereby, acceleration and speed of the vehicle), a braking input (e.g., brake pedal for controlling output of a braking system of the vehicle and, thereby, deceleration and speed of the vehicle), and a steering input (e.g., steering wheel for changing direction of wheels of the vehicle and, thereby, changing direction of the vehicle).
A braking system that is human-operated, for example, may be engineered to handle repeat emergency braking maneuvers in close succession, which may require use of certain materials and/or handling of excessive thermal loads.
Human-operated vehicles may include various automated controls, which operate in limited usage scenarios and are often to correct for limitations of human operation, according to Apple. For example, an antilock braking system may control brake application when wheel slip is detected (e.g., with hard braking by the user in slippery road conditions), or a lane keeping assist system may prevent a vehicle from drifting outside a lane of a public roadway (e.g., if the human operator fails to recognize the curvature of a road).
Apple wants its Apple Car to overcome such limitations.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A vehicle includes a control system, a sensing system that senses an environment of the vehicle, and a propulsion system, a braking system, and a steering system that are operated by the control system to navigate the vehicle according to the sensing system and without direct human control. The propulsion system and the braking system are operated by the control system to cooperatively decelerate the vehicle. The braking system includes an inboard friction brake that is associated with one or more wheels of the vehicle and does not form unsprung mass of the vehicle.
When might we see an Apple Car?
On. Nov. 18, 2021, 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 this year to lay the groundwork for an “Apple Car” release in 2025.