Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has filed for a patent (number US 20230079282 A1) for “seat positioning systems” for an automobile.
About the patent filing
This patent filing relates generally to positioning systems and specifically to devices configured to control motion of an occupant with respect to a seat pan within a seating system. Apple says a vehicle cabin may include modular interior elements such as seat systems that can be arranged into a configuration consistent with the vehicle cabin serving as a mobile office, a living room, or a relaxation space.
In such seating arrangements, occupants may spend time with seat backs partially or full reclined, that is, with recline angles larger than those typical to more conventional upright seating configurations. Occupants that are secured to seats with higher angles of rotation between the seat pan and the seat back, that is, in deeper recline, can have an increased risk of submarining compared to more upright occupants.
Submarining, that is, a tendency of the occupant to slide between a safety restraint and a seat pan may occur in some types of vehicle events, such as under high rates of deceleration or during a collision. Apple wants to avoid such issues with the Apple Car.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “A positioning system includes a deflection surface disposed within a seat, configured to support an occupant in the seat, and movable in response to motion of the occupant.
“The positioning system also includes a lock movable between an unlocked position in which the lock permits motion of the deflection surface relative to motion of the occupant and a locked position in which the lock restrains motion of the deflection surface relative to motion of the occupant. The lock is configured to move from the unlocked position to the locked position in response to receiving a signal from a controller, the signal including information indicative of a vehicle event.”
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.