Apple CarPatents

Apple patent filing involves a thermal control system for an Apple Car

Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has filed for a patent (number US 20230076394 A1) for a thermal control system for a vehicle.

About the patent filing

Per the patent filing, vehicles may include multiple subsystems that generate excess or 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 electric drive motors, inverters, batteries, sensors, computers, and compressors. If the excess heat is not removed from these components, they will not perform at efficient levels and may reduce the life of the components.

Apple says that autonomous or semi-autonomous electric vehicle applications increase the demands and performance of some advanced vehicle subsystems — for example the vehicle battery and the autonomy computer subsystems. These advanced subsystems typically generate more heat than other subsystems when the vehicle is in operation.

Electric vehicles further need to be as efficient as possible to reduce power consumption by the vehicle subsystems — for example the passenger cabin heating and cooling system. Reduction of electric energy use, and reclamation of subsystem generated energy — for example thermal heat energy, for use in other subsystems leads to more efficient vehicle operation and extended vehicle range on a given battery charge.

Apple’s patent filing involves thermal control systems and methods for operating thermal control systems. In one example, the thermal control system is useful in passenger vehicles. In another example, the thermal control system is useful in autonomous, or semi-autonomous (collectively referred to as autonomous), passenger vehicles. The described thermal control systems may be used in other forms of vehicles and devices.

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “A thermal control system for use in an electric vehicle includes a reservoir in fluid communication with a first loop having a first loop component and a second loop having a second loop component. First and second pumps are operable to circulate a liquid coolant to the first loop and the second loop, respectively. 

“A first valve, a second valve, and a third valve are moved between alternate liquid coolant flow positions by a vehicle control unit to selectively change the first and second loops from a parallel orientation to a series orientation providing alternate methods to reclaim or exhaust excess heat generated by the first loop component or to provide redundancy in order to maintain operation of the first loop and the second loop in the event of a failure of the first pump or the second pump.”

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.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.