As noted by MotorTrend, Apple has been granted a patent involving a superpower sunroof for the rumored “Apple Car.” The patent (number 11,235701) is for “movable panel assemblies” for a vehicle.
About the patent
In the patent, Apple notes that sunroofs come in many styles, with the most popular styles incorporating a sliding mechanism that moves a sunroof panel rearward out of a sunroof opening, either to a compartment internal to the roof of the vehicle or to a position external to the roof of the vehicle. The tech giant wants to take this to the next level.
For example, Apple Car passengers could choose whether to let sunlight into the car without having to open the sunroof or open it fully to let some air in.
Here’s MotorTrend’s take on the patent: The Apple sunroof thus appears to combine the basic attributes of an openable sunroof (i.e., a panel that separates from the surrounding roof and either lifts or slides back and away to create an opening) and a variable-opacity glass window, much like Mercedes-Benz’s Magic Sky roof tech that’s existed for years. With Magic Sky, users could electronically vary the translucence of a glass roof panel, from fully transparent to cloudy/opaque, sans any moving shades or covers. We don’t recall the tech being integrated with an opening sunroof panel specifically (it was, however, fixed in place on a panel that folded up with the rest of the hardtop on the SLK), which is where Apple’s patent seems to slide in. The patent also mentions this sunroof opening in sequence with side windows/doors, another possible point of separation.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A vehicle includes a roof, an opening in the roof, and a window that is located forward from the opening, wherein the window has an upper end and the window is free from non-translucent structures near the upper end. A movable panel is connected to the roof for movement forward and rearward relative to the roof between a closed position and an open position.
“A seal is connected to the movable panel. The seal engages the window when the movable panel is in the closed position and the seal is disengaged from the window when the movable panel is in the open position.”
When Might We See An Apple Car?
On. Nov. 18, Bloomberg reported that Apple is accelerating development on its “Apple Car.” The article says the electric vehicle will be self-driving and could roll out in 2025.
What’s more, in a note to clients — as noted by AppleInsider — investment bank Wedbush says Apple is likely to announce a strategic electric vehicle partnership in 2022 to lay the groundwork for an “Apple Car” release in 2025.