Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (US 11600075 B2) for “nighttime sensing” for an automobile.
About the patent
The patent involves multi-modal sensing for nighttime autonomous object detection and recognition. As Apple notes in the patent, automated vehicles gather process large quantities of sensor data to identify objects in the surrounding environment.
The processing of sensor data is often subject to a real-time constraint to facilitate navigation and robust control of the vehicle. Apple wants its Apple Car to have the most up-to-date safety features, including night vision.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “Systems and methods for night vision combining sensor image types. Some implementations may include obtaining a long wave infrared image from a long wave infrared sensor; detecting an object in the long wave infrared image; identifying a region of interest associated with the object; adjusting a control parameter of a near infrared sensor based on data associated with the region of interest; obtaining a near infrared image captured using the adjusted control parameter of the near infrared sensor; and determining a classification of the object based on data of the near infrared image associated with the region of interest.”
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.