Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 11536593) for a “sensor mounting assembly” for a vehicle. The goal is for the car to detect to environmental conditions and respond accordingly.
About the patent
In the patent Apple notes that vehicles, including autonomous vehicles, often use sensors to detect a variety of driving conditions including obstacles, vehicle location, temperature, ice, snow, rain, velocity, traffic, etc. Sensors used to detect these conditions are often mounted on the exterior of the vehicle body to allow unimpeded sensor detection.
One aspect of Apple’s invention is a sensor mounting assembly that includes a sensor that can detect conditions outside of the vehicle. The assembly also includes a vehicle body structure having an inner wall and an outer wall that is located opposite the inner wall. A sensor mount is coupled to the outer wall with at least one fastener extending through the outer wall, inner wall, and sensor mount. The sensor mount defines an internal space in which the sensor is coupled.
Apple’s invention also involves a sensor mounting assembly for a vehicle that includes a sensor that is operable to detect conditions outside of the vehicle and a sensor mount defining an internal space in which the sensor is coupled. The sensor would detect conditions outside of the vehicle.
In response, the Apple Car could provide warmer or cooler air to riders. It could also lower speed, shift to a lower or higher gear, etc., to better navigate inclement weather.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A sensor mounting assembly for a vehicle includes a sensor that is operable to detect conditions outside of the vehicle, and a vehicle body structure having an inner wall and an outer wall located opposite the inner wall. A sensor mount is coupled to the outer wall with at least one fastener extending through the outer wall, inner wall, and sensor mount. The sensor mount defines an internal space in which the sensor is coupled.”
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.