Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 11560041 B1) for a vehicle thermal system. It involves the heating/air conditioning system for a car.
About the patent
In the patent, Apple notes that vehicles may include multiple subsystems that generate waste heat while performing a function that is related to operation of the vehicle. Examples of heat-generating components that may be included in vehicle subsystems include drive motors, inverters, batteries, sensors, computers, and compressors.
If the waste heat isn’t removed from these systems, they may overheat and/or fail prematurely. The heating and cooling requirements for certain subsystems may vary dependent upon environmental conditions or other factors. In some situations, these subsystems may benefit from added heat, such as during cold-weather conditions. Plus, Apple notes that, in addition, passenger compartments and other occupied spaces also benefit from thermal management to improve comfort during hot, humid, and cold conditions.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s (pretty technical) abstract of the patent: “A vehicle thermal system includes a heat-generating component, a heat-absorbing component, a liquid coolant reservoir for receiving and distributing a liquid coolant, a first liquid loop that is connected to the liquid coolant reservoir, includes a first pump upstream from a first functional component to circulate the liquid coolant, is heated by the heat-generating component, and includes a first valve downstream from the first functional component to control recirculation or return of the liquid coolant to the liquid coolant reservoir, and a second liquid loop that is connected to the liquid coolant reservoir, includes a second pump upstream from a second functional component to circulate the liquid coolant, is cooled by the heat-absorbing component, and includes a second valve downstream from the second functional component to control recirculation or return of the liquid coolant to the liquid coolant reservoir.”
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.