Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (US 11598985 B1) for “systems with adjustable window transmission and haze.” It involves tinted windows on a vehicle.
About the patent
Obviously, car windows often include glass layers. To enhance privacy or block sunlight, windows may sometimes be tinted.
Apple wants such windows in any vehicle it makes to pack control circuitry and input-output devices mounted within the support structure. During operation, the control circuitry may use the input-output circuitry to receive input from a vehicle occupant.
This would allow the window to have an adjustable layer with two or more different modes of operation such as a dark hazy mode, a dark non-hazy mode, a clear hazy mode, and a clear non-hazy mode. The adjustable layer may be formed from a layer of polymer matrix material sandwiched between first and second transparent conductive electrode layers. The control circuitry can adjust the control signal applied to the adjustable layer by the electrodes to adjust the operating mode of the adjustable layer.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A system such as a vehicle, building, or electronic device system may have a support structure with one or more windows. The support structure and window may separate an interior region within the system from a surrounding exterior region. Control circuitry may receive input such as user input and may adjust an adjustable layer in the window based on the input. The adjustable layer may have a polymer matrix layer with embedded cells.
“The cells may include intermixed guest-host liquid crystal cells and liquid crystal cells. The guest-host liquid crystal cells and liquid crystal cells may have different liquid crystal materials and/or different sizes that allow the guest-host liquid crystal cells and liquid crystal cells to electrically switch states at different respective threshold voltages. Based on the user input or other input the control circuitry can adjust a drive signal across the adjustable layer to change light transmittance and haze.”
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.